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DEC 6 *W 
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For every intelligent American citizen the minute details of 
the career of any man who has figured prominently in the political 
affairs of his country, cannot be devoid of interest. The leading 
facts in the public life of such a man as Stephen A. Douglas, 
especially, must possess an interest absorbing and intense, far beyond 
that excited by the events connected with the most of those who 
have actively participated in the stirring scenes which have tran- 
spired of late years in the halls of our National Legislature. 

Mr. Douglas was so emphatically a self-made man, that the 
sympathies of every one struggling upward against fortune and 
misfortune, through evil report and through good report, must be 
keenly awakened by the particulars of his early history ; he was sc 
successful, and at such an early age, that not a little of the tinge of 
romance rests upon many passages of his life ; he was so energetic 
and resolute in whatever he undertook, that his highly-charged 
temperament — outcropping in familiar chat, elaborate letter, off- 
hand speech, running debate, and finished oration — exhilarates all 
who are brought in contact with its manifestations ; he was so skilled 
in the polemics of politics, that his Congressional record constitutes 
a well-furnished storehouse, from which the young aspirant for 
fame in forensic fence may select the best weapons, offensive and 
defensive, adapted to almost every possible emergency and contin 
gency ; he was so much at home upon the stump, that most of his 
extemporaneous efforts may safely be recommended as models for 
the student in that accomplishment, deemed by Americans the 
greatest, the a-'t of speaking to the crowd, rather than at them ; he 
was so warm a friend and so ' decided a hater, tliat every positive 



nature must in a measure identify itself witli him ; he was so pu^ ^icn- 
larly a man of the people, that the faithful portraiture of him — and 
the best possible is that furnished by himself in his speeches and 
debates — must keep his memory fresh and green in the popular 
heart, the more he is comprehended, the better he is understood ; and 
finally, he died comparatively so young, that a tender, melancholy 
invests his, as it were, unfinished life. 

The occurrences of the past two years have served as an apocalypse 
to the most of us ; and .in the light of this new revelation the 
exciting events associated with much of the Congressional legisla- 
tion of the past twenty years beget far other feelings than formerly 
were aroused. We are, necessarily, more charitable in our judg- 
ments of our political opponents of other days. A closer acquaint- 
ance with many of them has tended to materially change the 
opinions we once honestly entertained of such. Besides — saddest 
occurrence that can befal a trustful spirit ! — from many with whom 
we ever have acted, whose names we fondly deemed towers of 
strength, the mask has fallen, and we have been forced to see them, 
not as we thought them — not as we would have seen them — but as 
they are — our party's and — what is higher far than party — our 
country's direst foes. 

With these changed and still changing views, it cannot be unde- 
sirable to pass the leading political events of those years again and 
again in review. There are lessons to be gleaned from them which 
we have not even yet fully learned. 

With these events the lamented Douglas was closely identified ; 
and the following pages, which are believed to contain a true and 
faithful exposition of the leading incidents of his brilliant and 
instructive career, have been prepared in the hope that they may 
occasion somewhat at least of the careful study which the life of so 
great a man deserves, 






Parentage, Birth, and early Life of Stephen A. Douglas — He Studies Law 
— Goes to the West — Teaches School — Admitted to Practise Law — Hia 
Success as a Lawyer, and the Causes of it — Becomes Attorney General 
of Illinois — Elected to the State Legislature — Electioneers for Martin 
Van Buren for President, in 1840 — Makes 207 Speeches in that Year, 
and carries Illinois for the Democracy — Becomes a Judge of the 
Supreme Court — Is Elected to Congress in 1843, .... 16 


Mr. Douglas' First Session in Congress — His Speech upon the Improve- 
ment by Congress of Western Rivers and Harbors — His Great Speech on 
the Bill to Refund General Jackson's Fine — General Jackson's Opinion 
of tht Speech — Mr. Douglas Reelected to Congress, ... 20 


Speech in Favor of the Re-Annexation of Texas — Mr. Douglas reports Joint 
Resolutions, declaring Texas to be one of the United States — Texas 
Annexed, < 2fi 

n . CONtElftg. 


Speech in Vindication of the Administration — Mr. Douglas elected to Con^ 
gress a third time, .•..•;».* 28 


Mr. Douglas Elected to tbe United States Senate — He opposes the WUmot 
Proviso — Speech on the Ten Regiment Bill — Bill for the Establishment 
of the Territory of Nebraska — Pass to Gen. Santa Anna — Exertions of 
Mr. Douglas in procuring Grants of Land to the Illinois Central Railroad 
— He endeavors to extend the Missouri Compromise Line to the Pacific 
Ocean — The Design defeated by Northern Votes — Bill for the Admission 
of California — Indian Titles in the North-west — Protection to Emi- 
fprants, 3d 


Mr. Douglas supports the Compromise Measures of Henry Clay — Great 
Speech on the 13th and 14th of March — Speech in favor of the Omnibua 
Bill, June 3 — The Nicholson Letter of General Cass — Mr. Douglas re- 
turns to Chicago — He is Denounced by the Local Authorities — He 
beards the Lions in their Den — Speech to the Citizens of Chicago— Its 
Effect, .... . 39 


Speech in favor of making Gen. Winfield Scott a Lieutenant-General — 
Speech on the Fugitive Slave Law — Speech on the Foreign Policy of the 
United States — Retrospective View of the Course of Mr. Douglas in 
Congress up to this Time (1852) — Mr. Douglas the real Author of the 
Compromise Measures of 1850 — BiU for the Organization of the Territo- 
ries of Kansas and Nebraska — Mr. Douglas opposes the Oregon Treaty 
with England — Opposes the Peace Treaty with Mexico — Speech on the 
Clayton and Bulwer Treaty — Report on the Organization of Nebraska 
and Kansas — The Nebraska BiU — Debate on it — The bill passed, . 47 

Hr. Douglas at Chicago, 1S54, 66 



Report of Mr. Douglas on the Territorial Policy of the Governmeut — 
Speech in Keply to Trumbull, and in Support of the Bill authorizing the 
People of Kansas to form a Constitution and State Government — Si)eeeh 
in Reply to Mr. CoUamer — The" Bill passed by the Senate — Report of 
Mr. Douglas on the House Bill, 72 


A Retrospect — Origin and Causes of Disagreement with the President— 
Not Provoked by Mr. Douglas — Mr. Buchanan owes his Nomination at 
Cincinnati to Mr. Douglas — Telegraphic Dispatches — His Efforts to Elect 
Mr. Buchanan in 1S.56 — Speech at Springfield in 1857, defending the 
Administration — President's Instructions to Governor Walker — Consti- 
tution to be Submitted — Executive Dictation — Differences of Opinion 
tolerated on all Subjects except Lecompton — Mr. Douglas' Propositions 
for Adjustment — Resolutions of Illinois Democracy — Controversy termi- 
nated by the English Bill — War Renewed by the Administration — Coali- 
tion between the Federal Officeholders and the Abolitionists — Mr. Dou- 
glas' last Speech in the Senate preparatory to IlUnois Canvass, . 80 


New Aspect of Affairs at the Federal Capitol — ^Mr. Douglas calls on 
the President for Information in regard to Affairs in Kansas — Great 
Speech of Mr. Douglas against the Lecompton Constitution — Speech in 
Favor of the Crittenden-Montgomery Amendment — Speech on the Eng- 
lish Bill — Speech in favor of conferring on the President Power to pun- 
ish British Outrages, ...» 96 


l£r. Douglas returns to Chicago — Brilliant Reception — Makes hia Sj*eech 
opening the Campaign — Lays down Principles on whick he fiandacte4 
it, lOA 



Mr. Douglas leaves Chicago for New Orleaus — Received at St. Louis ani 
Memphis — ^Brilliant Receptioa at New Orleans. • • * 142 


Mr. Douglas again in Washington — Experiences a Change of Atmosphere — 
Scene shifts — Removed from Post of Chainuun of Territorial Commit- 
tee — His Services as Chairman — Pretext of Removal — Freeport Speech — 
Letter to California in reply to Dr. Gwin, 144 


Letters to Dorr and Peyton — Speeches in Ohio, and Cincinnati Platform 
Charleston Convention — Presideutal Aspirants — The Harper Article — 
Black's Reply — Appendix of Attorney General — Rejoinder of Senat<H- 
Douglas — The Chase and Trumbull Amendments — Consistency of Sena- 
M}r Douglas, 1*^8 


Great Speech of Mr. Douglas on the Harper's Ferry Invasion — Anxiety to 
hear him — His Speeches in Reply to Senators Fessenden, Jeff. Davis, 
and Seward — The Caucus of Senators — Their Utopian Platform, . 189 


Conventions of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and 
Michigan ; also of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and 
New York — Claimsof the North-west— Conclusion, . . . 205 




• •• 


The object of the author of this book is to present to the 
people of the United States a truthful delineation of the 
sbaraeter and qualities of one of the greatest American states- 

The public life of Mr. Douglas naturally divides itself into 
five periods. The first, from his entrance into Congress in 
1843, to the close of the war against Mexico, in 1848. 
Second, from the close of the Mexican War to the passage of 
the Compromise measures of 1850. Third, from the passage 
of the Compromise of 1850, to the passage of the Nebraska 
Bill in 1854. Fourth, from the passage of the Nebraska Bill, 
to the third election of Mr. Douglas to the Senate, in the fall 
of 1858. Fifth, from the commencement of his third Senato 
rial term, in March, 1859, to his too early decease. 

During tbe first period, Mr. Douglas appears among the 
most active and influential friends of the re-annexation of 


Teras to the United States, and causes to be run thro, gti 
Texas the Missouri Compromise line of 36° 30' ; and wflen 
the war with Mexico breaks out, he is found among the 
ablest supporters of the administration, and one of the fore- 
most of our statesmen in upholding the honor of our flag 
and in prosecuting the war with a vigor and prudence that 
led to an honorable and satisfactory peace. In this period, 
too, Mr. Douglas is seen endeavoring to carry out in good 
faith the principles of the Missouri Compromise, by extending 
the line of 36° 30' westward through our acquisitions from 
Mexico to the Pacific Ocean ; in which attempt he was frus 
trated by northern Freesoilers. 


The second period was one of the most important in the 
whole life of Mr. Douglas. He is seen at this time, shaping 
and molding for the territories of the United States, those 
institutions of government upon which his fame as a states- 
man rests, and upon which depend the happiness of millions 
of American citizens, and the prosperity of a dozen new 
States. In treating of this period of the life of Mr. Douglas, 
I have shown that he is the real author of the Compromise 
measures of 1860, so generally attributed to Henry Clay. 
In this period, too, we see Mr. Douglas coming home to hia 
constituents, and in the presence of an infuriated mob, pro- 
claiming the propriety and expediency of those measures 
with such matchless eloquence, that the voices of faction and 
fanaticism were hushed, and the citizens of Chicago passed 
resolutions declaring their adherence to those very measures 
which they had the day before denounced. 

Toward the close of the third period, we see Mr. Douglas 
bringing forward the details of his great plan for the gov 
emment of the territories, in the shape of the Kansas and 


Nebraska bills ; explaining and elucidating the principles 
upon which they are based, and urging their adoption by 
Congress. And when these measures were passed, w^e see 
him coming home to a constituency that refused to hear him 
vindicate their justice and propriety. 

During the fourth period, we see the evils that resulted in 
Kansas, from attempts to evade or disregard the principles 
of the Nebraska Bill. We see the Presijgpt of the United 
States exerting the whole strength of his administration in 
attempting to force a constitution repugnant to their wishes 
on the people of Kansas ; and Mr. Douglas energetically and 
with all his might resisting the tyrannical proceeding, and 
vindicating the right of the people of the territories in all 
time to come, to form and regulate their domestic institutions 
in their own way. When the British also, in 1858, attacked no 
less than thirty-three of our vessels in the space of four weeks 
and when the Senate were about to pass the cuGtomarj 
resolutions, declaring that such acts were very annoying tc 
the United States, and ought not to be committed, we see 
Mr. Douglas urging upon Congress the instant adoption ot 
such energetic measures on our part as should compel Great 
Britain not only to cease such outrages in future, but also to 
make reparation for those she had committed. 


During this period also, we see the great campaign in the 
autumn of 1858, the election of a senator from Illinois for 
the next six years, the gallant stand made by Mr. Douglas, 
and the unscrupulous efforts made by federal officials ana 
Abolitionists to crush him. Like Napoleon on his return 
from Elba, Mr. Douglas, on his return to Illinois, in- 
spired his numerous friends with unbounded enthusiasm. 
We see the momentous struggle between Mr. Douglas and th« 


Democratic party on the one side, and the allied forces 
of the Republicans, Abolitionists, and office-holders on 
the other. We see the battles and skirmishes of the cam- 
paign ; in every engagement, we see the utter discomfiture 
of the unholy alliance, and the triumph of the right — and 
always, m the forefront of the battle, we hear the clarion 
voice of the great leader of the democracy. Finally, we see 
his victory over(|p his enemies, and witness his triumphant 
return to the Senate, bearing high aloft the glorious banner 
of the Democracy, unstained and untarnished. 

During the last period, we see the hostility of the Executive 
manifested in the removal of Mr. Douglas from the chair- 
manship of the Committee on Territories ; the war of the 
pamphlets ; the Senate proceedings following the horrible 
plot of John Brown ; and the ridiculous attempt on the part 
of a few senators to make a platform for the Charleston 
Convention entirely incompatible with the known principles 
of Mr. Douglas. We see the uprising of the people all over 
the nation in favor of Mr. Douglas for the Presidency, the 
proceedings of the several State conventions, and their 
unanimity in designating Mr. Douglas as their choice above 
all other men. Finally, we see the meeting of the Charleston 
Convention ; and the nomination of Judge Douglas for the 
Presidency, in spite of the determined effort of factionists. 


The Rev. Wm. H. Milburn, the blind preacher, in his 
interesting book, " Ten Years of Preacher Life," gives the 
following graphic sketch of his impressions of Mr. Douglas : 

" The first time I saw Mr. Douglas was in June, 1838, standing on the 
gallery of the Market House, which some of my readers may recollect as 
Bituate in the middle of the square of Jacksonville. He and Colonel John 
iT. Hardin were engaged in canvassing Morgan County for Congress. He 


Iras uj-on the tbreshold of that great T^orld in which he has since played 
BO prominent a part, and was engaged iu making one of his earhest stump 
speeches. I stood and listened to him, surrounded by a motley crowd ot 
backwood farmers and hunters, dressed in homespun or deerskin, my 
boyish breast glowing with exultant joy, as he, only ten years my senior, 
battled so bravely for the doctrines of his party v/ith the veteran and ac- 
complished Hardin. True, I had been educated in poUtical sentiments 
opposite to his own, but there was something captivating iu his manly 
straightforwardness and uncompromising statement of his political prin- 
ciples. He even then showed signs of that dexterity in debate, and vehe- 
ment, impressive declamation, of which he has since become such a master. 
He gave the crowd the color of his own mood as he interpreted their 
thoughts and directed their sensibilities. His first-hand knowledge of the 
people, and his power to speak to them In their own language, employing 
arguments suited to their comprehension, sometimes clinching a series of 
reasons by a frontier metaphor which refused to be forgotten, and his de- 
termined courage, which never shrank from any form of difficulty or dan- 
ger, made him one of the most effective stump-orators I have ever heard. 

" Less than four years before, he had walked into the town of Winches- 
ter, sixteen miles southwest of Jacksonville, an entire stranger, with 
thirty-seven and a half cents in his pocket, his all of earthly fortune. Hig 
first employment was as clerk of a ' Vandu,' as the natives call a sheriff'a 
sale. He then seized the birch of the pedagogue, and sought by its aid 
and by patient drilling, to initiate a handful of half-wild boys into the sub- 
lime mysteries of Lindley Murray. His evenings were divided between 
reading newspapers, studying Blackstone, and talking politics. He, before 
long, by virtue of his indomitable energy, acquired enough of legal lore to 
pass an examination, and ' to stick up his shingle,' as they call putting up 
a lawyer's sign. And now began a series of official employments, by 
which he has mounted within five and twenty years, from the obscurity of 
a village pedagogue on the borders of civilization, to Lis present illustrioua 
and commanding position. In the twelve or thirteen years that had 
elapsed from the time of his entering the State, a friendless, penniless 
youth, he has served his fellow-citizens in almost every official capacity, 
and entered the highest position within their power to confer. 

" No man, since the days of Andrew Jackson, has gained a stronger hold 
npon the confidence and attachment of his adherents, or exercised a more 
dominating authority over the masses of his party than Judge Douglas 
Whether upon the stump, in the caucus, or the Senate, hispow-er and s'lc 
cess la debate are prodigious. His instincts stand him in the st'^ad o; 
imagination, and amount to genius. 


" Notwithstanding the busy and boisterous political life which he has led 
with all its engrossing cares and occupations, Mr. Douglas has, neverthe 
less, by his invincible perseverance, managed to redeem much time foi 
Belf-iraprovement. He has been a wide and studious reader of history 
Bud its kindred branches. Contact with affairs has enlarged his under- 
standing and strengthened hisjudgment. Thus, with his unerring sagacity, 
his matured and decisive character, with a courage which sometimes ap- 
pears to be audacity, but which is in reality tempered by prudence, a will 
that never submits to an obstacle, however vast, and a knowledge of the 
people, together with a power to lead them, incomparable in this genera- 
tion, he may be accepted as a practical statesman of the highest 

The correspondent of the "New York " Times " describes 
Mr. Douglas as follows : " The Little Giant, as he has been 
well styled, is seen to advantage on the floor of the Senate. 
He is not above the middle height ; but the easy and natural 
dignity of his manner stamps him at once as one born to 
command. His massive head rivets undivided attention. It 
is a head of the antique, with something of the infinite in its 
expression of power : a head difficult to describe, but better 
worth description than any other in the country. Mr. Doug- 
las has a brain of unusual size, covered with heavy masses of 
dark brown hair, now beginning to be sprinkled with silver. 
His forehead is high, open, and splendidly developed, based 
on dark, thick eyebrows of great width. His eyes, large and 
deeply set, are of the darkest and most brilliant blue. The 
mouth is cleanly cut, finely arched, but with something of 
bitter and sad experience in its general expression. The 
chin is square and vigorous, and is full of eddying dimples— 
the muscles and nerves showing great mobility, and every 
thought having some external reflexion in the sensitive and 
expressive features. Add now a rich, dark complexion, clear 
and healthy ; smoothly shaven cheeks; and handsome throat ; 
small, white ears ; eyes which shoot out electric fires ; small 
white hands ; small feet ; a fu!l chest and broad shoulders ; 


and with these points duly blended together, we have a pic- 
ture of the Little Giant. 

"As a speaker, Mr. Douglas seems to disdain ornament, 
and marches right on against the body of his subject with 
irresistible power and directness. His rhetorical assault has 
nothing of the cavalry slash in its impressiveness, rather 
resembling a charge of heavy infantry with fixed bayonet, 
and calling forcibly to mind the attack of those ' six thousand 
English veterans " immortalized by Thomas Davis * 

" ' Steady they step adown the slope, 
Steady they climb the hill ; 
Steady they load — steady they fire — 
Marching right onward still.' 

His voice is a rich and musical baritone, swelling into occa- 
sional clarion-blasts toward the close of each important 
period. He is heard with breathless attention, ex(3ept when 
now and again the galleries feel tempted to applaud — these 
demonstrations appearing to give particular uneasiness to the 
Administration, Secession, .ind Republican senators." 

Mr. Douglas was twice married. He left two little sons, 
the children of his first wife, who was a southern lady. In 
185t, he married Miss Adele Cutts, daughter of James 
Madison Cutts, Esq., second Controller of the Treasury, a 
beautiful and accomplished woman, and well known in 
Washington for the amiability of her disposition, and the 
goodness of her heart. He had one child, a daughter, by 
his second mamage. 



Parentage, Birth, and early Life of Stephen A. Douglas — He Studies Law 
— Goes to the West- -Teaches School — Admitted to Practise Law — His 
Success as a Lawyer , and the Causes of it — Becomes Attorney General 
of Illinois — Elected to the State Legislature — Electioneers for Martin 
Van Buren for President, in 1840 — Makes 207 Speeches in that Year, 
and carries Illinois for the Democracy — Becomes a Judge of the 
Supreme Court — Is Elected to Congress in 1843. 

Stephen A. Douglas was born in the town of Brandon, 
Vermont, on the 23d day of April, 1813. His father was a 
native of the State of New York, and a physician of high 
repute. His grandfather was a Pennsylvanian by birth, and 
a soldier in the Revolutionary "War. He was one of those 
Boldiers of Washington who passed that terrible winter at 
Valley Forge, and was present at the surrender of Lord Corn- 
wallis. His great-grandfather was also an American by birth, 
but his ancestors came originally to this country from Scot- 
land. Dr. Douglas died when his little son Stephen was only 
three months old. From the age of ten to that of fifteen 
years, Stephen was sent to the common schools of the neigh- 
borhood. During the last two years of this term, he was 
noted for remarkable aptitude for his studies, and was ex 
tremely diligent and attentive. His quick perception, excel- 
lent memory, and determination to excel in his studies, w^ero 
subjects of remark by his teachers, even at that early period. 
His disposition was amiable and kind, -of which fact there 
are numerous instances related by those who were his school 


fellows. His temper, however, was naturally quick and 

At the age of fifteen, he expressed to his mother his 
earnest desire to prepare for college ; but it was decided at 
a family council that the expense of a collegiate education 
would make that idea impossible. " Well, then," said 
Stephen, " I will earn my own livir.g ;" and he immediately 
engaged himself as an apprentice to the trade of cabinet- 
making, which was then an excellent and lucrative business. 
He worked at this trade for eighteen months, and then 
abandoned it altogether, as it proved entirely too severe for 
his constitution. His master has since jocularly remarked, 
that during the time Stephen was with him, he displayed 
his greatest ingenuity in the construction of bureaus^ cabi- 
nets^ and secretaries. At the age of seventeen, he entered 
the academy at Brandon, and pursued his studies there for 
more than a year. His mind was extremely active at this 
time, and he made rapid advancement in those branches of 
learning to which he directed his attention. When the 
family removed to Canandaigua, New York, he attended the 
academy there as a student. Having decided to make the 
law his profession, he entered the office of Mr. Hubbell, ard 
studied law till 1833. life. 

In the spring of that year he went to the West, in search 
of an eligible place in which to establish himself as a lawyer. 
He went to a number of cities and towns in the West, 
among them Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, and Jackson- 
ville, Illinois. At Winchester, a little town sixteen miles 
from Jacksonvillo, he found there was no school, and irame- 
mediately opened one. He obtained forty pupils without 
any difficulty, whom be taught for three months, at $3 00 pei 


quarter. He devoted his evenings, during this time, to tke 
prosecution of his law studies. In March, 1834, lie was 
admitted to practise law, by the judges of the Supreme 
Court of the State. He at once opened a law office, and 
became remarkably successful as a legal practitioner. 

Within a year after his admission, and while not ^yet 
twenty-two years of age, he was elected by the legislature 
of Illinois, attorney-general of the State. In 1836, he was 
elected to the legislature by the Democrats of Morgan 
County, and resigned the office of attorney-general. At the 
time he took his seat in the legislature, he was the youngest 
member of that body. In 1837, he was appointed by Presi- 
dent Van Buren register of the land-office at Springfield, 
Illinois. In November of the same year, he received the 
Democratic nomination for Congress, although he was then 
under twenty-five years of age, and consequently ineligible. 
He attained the requisite age, however, before the day of 
election, which was in August, 1838. At this election 
upward of 36,000 votes were cart, of which Mr. Douglas re. 
ceived a majority. About twenty votes were rejected by the 
canvassers, because in them the name of Mr, Douglas was 
spelled incorrectly. The quibble was a most unworthy one, 
and would not stand at this day. As it was, the Whig can- 
didate was declared to be elected by a majority of only five 
votes; and the election was everywhere regarded as a 
triumph of Mr. Douglas. 


Retiring now from political life, Mr. Douglafe devoted 
himself with assiduity to the practice of his profesr.ion. He 
was an able and successful lawyer, and his business increased 
rapidly. There are many persons now living, who were 
clients and neighbors of Mr. Douglas at this time, and who 


I emember well his demeanor as an advocate. He was noted^ 
among other things, for the careful preparation of his cases, 
and for his tact and skill in the examination of witnesses. 
He never went into court with a case until he thoroughly 
understood it in all its bearings. His addresses to the jury 
wei-e generally plain and clear statements of the matters of 
fact, the arguments logical and conclusive, and his manner 
earnest and impressive. He rarely failed to enlist the feel- 
ings and sympathies of a jury. 

In the year 1840, Mr. Douglas entered with ardor into the 
celebrated " Hard Cider and Log Cabin " campaign, and 
threw the whole weight of his influence in favor of Martin 
Van Buren, the democratic candidate for President, and 
against the " Tippecanoe and Tyler too " candidates of the 
Whig party. During seven months of that year, he tra- 
versed the State of Illinois in all directions, and addressed 
207 meetings of the people. General Harrison was elected 
President, but Illinois was carried for the Democratic candi- 
dates, and Mr. Douglas was mainly instrumental in bringing 
about this result. 


In December, 1840, Mr. Douglas was appointed secretary 
of state of Illinois. In February, 1841, he was elected by 
the legislature a judge of the Supreme Court of the State. 
This was only seven years after he had received, from the 
judges of that court, his license to practise law. He re- 
mained upon the bench of the Supreme Court for three 
years. In 1843 he was elected to Congress by 400 majority; 
and in 1844 by a majority of 1,900 votes. He was ele- ted a 
representative a third time in 1846, by a majority of ^,000 



Hr. Douglas' First Session in Congress — His Speech upon the Improve- 
ment by Congress of Western Rivera and Harbors — His Great Speech od 
the Bill to Refund General Jackson's Fine — General Jackson's Opinion 
of the Speech — Mr. Douglas Reelected to Congress. 

On taking his seat in Congress, Mr. Douglas did not at 
once rush into the debates of the House. He was perfectly 
informed concerning the interests of his constituents, over 
which he exercised a watchful care. But for the first session 
or two of Congress, he spoke rarely, and briefly ; familiariz- 
ing himself, by study and observation, with the rules of 
debate, and the usages of parliamentary bodies. When iie 
did rise to address the House, it was on some practical 
question ; and his remarks were always forcible, and to the 


His first speech in Congress was upon the improvement ol 
western lakes and harbors, delivered December 19, 1843 
He had moved that so much of the President's message as 
referred to that subject, be referred to a select committee. 
He insisted upon a select committee, " because the question 
involved important interests requiring an accurate know- 
ledge of the condition of the country, its navigable 
streams, and the obstructions to be removed. A thorough 
ex-iuuination of subjects so various, extensive, and intricate. 


and requiring so much patient labor and toil, could not be 
expected from tliose who reside at a great distance. He 
•desired a full, elaborate, and detailed report from those 
whose local positions would stimulate them. Let this be 
granted, and the friends of the measure would be content to 
leave its policy and propriety to the judgment of the 
House." While Mr. Douglas has never ceased to take a lively 
interest in river and harbor improvements and the protection 
of inland navigation, experience soon convinced him that the 
practice of appropriating from the federal treasury for auch 
purposes had utterly failed to accomplish its object, and 
that a system of tonnage duties which he matured, and on 
several occasions has introduced into the Senate, should be 
substituted for Congressional appropriations. Since the sys- 
tem of tonnage duties has been elaborated in Congress, and 
is becoming understood by the public, the most enlightened 
friends of the navigating interests are becoming satisfied that 
the substitute proposed by Mr. Douglas would prove not 
mly more economical, but more effective and beneficial in 
iie accomplishment of their views. 

In connection with this subject, it should be added, that 
Jlr. Douglas was mainly instrumental in securing the passage 
of the law by which the maritime and admiralty jurisdiction 
of the federal courts was extended over the northern lakes. 


On ttie 7th of January, 1844, he delivered an eloquent 
speech on the bill to refund to Gen. Jackson, the fine unjustly 
imposed on him by Judge Hall, of New Orleans. From 
this speech we make the following extracts : 

" I maintain," said Mr. Douglas, " that in the exercise of 
the power of proclaiming martial law. Gen. Jackson did not 
violate the Constitution, nor assume to himself any authoritj 


not Ailly authorized and legalized by his position, his duty, 
and the necessity of the case. Gen. Jackson Tras the agent 
of the government, legally and constitutionally authorized to 
defend the city of New Orleans. It was his duty to do thia 
at all hazards. It was then conceded, and is now conceded, 
that nothing but martial law would enable him tc perform 
that duty. His power was commensurate with his duty, and 
he was authorized to use the means essential to its perform- 
ance. This principle has been recognized and acted upon by 
all civilized nations, and is familiar to all who are conversant 
with military history. It does not imply the right to suspend 
the laws and civil tribunals at pleasure. The right grows 
out of the necessity. The principle is, that the commanding 
general may go as far, and no further than is absolutely 
necessary to the defence of the place committed to his pro- 
tection. There are exigencies in the history of nations, 
when necessity becomes the paramount law, to which all 
other considerations must yield. If it becomes necessary to 
blow up a fort, it is right to do it. If it is necessary to sink 
a ship, it is right to sink it. If it is necessary to burn a city, 
it is right to burn it." 

Mr. Douglas then gave a graphic description of the state of 
affairs at New Orleans in December, 1814, and January, 1815 ; 
concluding thus : " The enemy, composed of disciplined 
troops, four times as numerous as our own force, were in the 
immediate vicinity of the city, ready for the attack at any 
moment ; the city, filled with traitors, anxious to sur- 
render ; spies transmitting information to the enemy's camp. 
The governor of the State, the judges, the public authorities, 
ind all the chief citizens, earnestly entreated Gen. Jackson to 
declare martial law, as the only means of maintaining the 
safety of the city. Gen. Jackson promptly issued the order, 
and enforced it by the weight of his authority. The city 


was saved. The country was defended by 8; succession of 
the most brilliant military achievements that ever adorned 
the annals of any country or any age. Martial law was con- 
tinued no longer than the danger existed. Judge Hall him- 
self had advised, urged, and solicited Gen. Jackson to 
declare it." 

" The last of the high crimes and misdemeanors imputed 
to Gen. Jackson at New Orleans, is that of arresting Judge 
Hall, and sending him beyond the limits of the city, with 
instructions not to return till peace was restored. The 
justification of this act is found in the necessity which 
required the declaration of martial law, and its continuance 
and enforcement until the enemy should have left, or the 
treaty of peace be ratified. Judge Hall, who was by birth 
an Englishman, had confederated with Louallier's band of 
conspirators. Their movements were dangerous. Gen. 
Jackson took the responsibility, and sent the judge beyond 
the lines of his camp. Was this a contempt o^ court ?" 

" I envy not the feelings of the man who can calmly 
reason about the force of precedents in the fury of the 
war-cry, when ' booty and beauty ' is the watchword. Talk 
not to me of ' forms, and rules of court ' when the enenay'a 
cannon are pointed at the door ! The man who could philo- 
sophize at such times, would fiddle while the Capitol was 
burning. There was but one form necessary on that occa- 
sion, and that was, to point cannon and destroy the enemy," 

" I grant that the bUl is unprecedented : but I desire, on 
this day, to make a precedent that shall command the admi- 
ration of the world. Besides, sir, the government has 
repeatedly recognized and sanctioned the doctrine, that in 
eases of necessity, the commander is fully justified in quper 


seding the civil law; and that Congress will make remunera- 
tion, when the commander acted with the view of promoting 
the public interests. The people demand this measure, and 
they will never be satisfied till their wishes shall have been 
respected, and their will obeyed." 


The bill was passed, and the fine refunded. A year after- 
ward, Mr. Douglas, in company with several other members 
of Congress, paid their respects to the venerable hero and 
patriot, at the Hermitage. When Mr. Douglas was intro- 
duced, the old general grasped him warmly by the hand, and 
requested him to step with him into a private room. There, 
in the presence of two other gentlemen now living, and from 
one of whom we have received this relation, the venerable 
soldier, in a voice trembling with emotion, thus addressed 
the young statesman : " Mr. Douglas, I read, with feelings 
of lively gratitude, your speech in Congress last winter, in 
favor of remitting the fine imposed on me by Judge Hall. I 
knew when I proclaimed and enforced martial law, that I 
was doing right. But never, until I had read your speech, 
could I have expressed the reasons which actuated my con- 
duct. I knew that I was not violating the Constitution of 
my country. When my life is written, I wish that speech 
of yours to be inserted in it, as my reasons for proclaiming 
and enforcing martial law in New Orleans." 




Speech in Favor of the Re- Annexation of Texas — Mr. Douglas reports Joint 
Resolutions, declaring Texas to be one of the United States — Texa« 

Mr. Douglas was among the earliest advocates of the 
annexation of Texas ; on which subject he made an able 
speech on the 6th of January, 1845. In this speech he 
showed that the Texas question was not at that time a new 
one ; that it did not originate with Mr. Tyler : that one of 
first acts of the administration of Gen. Jackson had been to 
re-open negotiations with Mexico for the annexation ol 
Texas: that Mr. Van Buren, then secretary of state, had 
addressed a long dispatch to Mr. Poinsett, our minister to 
Mexico, instructing him to endeavor to secure Texas, and 
directing him to give $5,000,000 for it: that the attempt 
had been renewed by President Jackson in 1833, and again 
in 1835. He showed by the authority of John Quincy 
Adams^ in his official letters, especially the one dated 
March 12, 1818, that the western boundary of Louisiana 
extended to the Rio del Norte : that the settlements made 
between the rivers Sabine and Rio del I^orte, by La Salle, 
in 1685, under the authority of Louis XIV -, king of France, 
together with those on the Mississippi and the Illinois, 
formed the basis of the original French colony of Louisiana, 
which was ceded to the United States in 1803 ; and quoted 
the language of Mr. Adams, "that the claim of the United 


States to the boundary of the Rio Bravo del Norte was as 
clear as thoir right to the island of New Orleans." 

He then went on to show that as the Rio del Norte was 
the western boundary of Louisiana, and Texas was included 
in the cession of 1803, aU the inhabitants of that country 
were, by the terms of the treaty, naturalized, and became 
citizens of the United States ; and all who migrated there 
between 1803 and 1819 went there under the shield of the 
Constitution and laws of the United States, and with the 
guaranty that they would be forever protected by them, 
and quoted from the treaty of cession as follows : " The in- 
habitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated mto the 
Union of the United States, and admitted as soon as possible, 
according to the principles of the Constitution, to the enjoy- 
ments of all the rights of the United States." 

" To the fulfillment of these stipulations," said Mr. Doug- 
las, " the sacred faith and honor of this nation were solemnly 
pledged. Yet, in violation of one of them, Texas was ceded 
to Spain by the treaty of 1819. The American Republic 
was severed by that treaty, a part of its territory joined to 
a foreign kingdom, and American citizens were transformed 
into the subjects of a foreign despotism. Texas did not 
assent to the separation ; she protested against it promptly 
and solemnly. The protest and declaration of independence 
of Texas, in June, 1819, says, 'The recent treaty between 
Spain and the United States has dissipated an illusion, and 
has aroused the citizens of Texas. They see themselves 
abandoned to the dominion of Spain ; but, spurning the fet- 
ters of colonial vassalage, they resolve, under the blessing 
of God, to be free and independent.' 

•" Most nobly have they maintained that righteous resolve ; 
first, against the despotism of Spain, and then the tyranny 
of Mexico, until, on the plains of San Jacinto, victory estab< 
ished then- independence and made them free." 


Mr. Douglas proceeded to enumerate the advantages that 
(vould attend the annexation of Texas, and then went on to 
show that it must he done in accordance with the principles 
of the Constitution ; proving the doctrine to have been sane 
tioned and settled, that foreign territory may be annexed, 
organized into territories and States, and admitted into the 
Union on an equal fcoting A^dth the original States. In con- 
cluding his remarks upon this point, Mr. Douglas said, " The 
conclusion is irresistible that Congress, possessing the power 
to admit a State, has the right to pass a law of annexation. 
I do not say that territory cannot be acquired in any other 
way than by act of Congress. We may acquire it by con- 
quest, or b)' treaty, or by discovery. We claim the Oregon 
Territory by virtue of the right of discovery and occupation. 
But if we wish to acquire Texas without making war or 
relying upon discovery, we must fall back upon the power to 
admit new States, and acquire the territory by act of Con- 
gress, as one of the necessary and indispensable means of 
executing that enumerated power. Our federal system is 
admirably adapted to the whole continent; and while I 
would not violate the laws of nations, nor treaty stipulations, 
nor in any manner tarnish the national honor, I would exert 
all legal and honorable means to drive Great Britain, and the 
last vestiges of royal authority, from the continent of North 
America, and extend the limits of the Republic from ocean 
to ocean. I would make this an ocean-bound republic, and 
have no more disputes about boundaries or red lines upon 

The treaty for the annexation of Texas having failed in 
the Senate, Mr. Douglas, among others, introduced joint 
resolutions in the House of Representatives for the annexor 
tion of Texas to the United States ; and at the next session, 
being chairman of the Committee on Territories, reported 
ihe bill by which Texas was declared one of the States 




Speech iu Vindication of the Administration — Mr. Douglas elected to Com 
gress a third time. 

Mr. Douglas vigorously supported the administration of 
President Polk, in the measures it adopted for the prosecu- 
tion of the war against Mexico; and on the 13th of May, 
1846, made a long and able speech in favor of the bill making 
appropriations for the support of the army. The object of 
this speech was to vindicate our government, and to demon- 
strate that it had not been in the wrong, in the origin and 
progress of the war. It will be remembered that the war 
was denounced by the Whig party as unholy and damnable, 
and the government of the United States was vilified and 
tradaced without measure, for taking the only course that 
could be taken, in order to preserve the national honor. 
Henry Clay, the great leader of the Whigs, did not, indeed, 
Join in this shameful cry. His eldest son, Henry Clay, jr., 
fought gallantly in the Avar, and fell at Buena Vista : and the 
old patriot was not one of those who gave aid and comfort to 
the enemy. But Thomas Corwin, and others like him, de- 
clared in Congress that while the President could command 
the army, they thanked heaven that the^/ could command the 
purse, and that he should have no funds to prosecute this 
W^ar ; and called upon the Mexicans to welcome the soldiers 


of the American army, with " bloody hands and hospitable 


lu reply to this, Mr. Douglas presented amass of evidence 
from official documents, showing that for years past we had 
had ample cause for war against Mexico, and quoting the 
declaration of President Jackson's last special message, that 
the wanton character of the outrages upon the persons and 
property of our citizens, upon the officers and flag of the 
United States, independent of recent insults to this govern- 
ment and people, would justify in the eyes of nations, imme- 
diate war. 


" Aside from the insults to our flag," said Mr. Douglas, 
" the indignity to the nation, and the injury to our commerce, 
not less than ten millions of dollars are due to our citizens, 
for these outrages which Mexico has committed within the 
last fifteen years. The Committee on Foreign Relations of 
the U. S. Senate, said in their report in 1837, that they might 
'with justice recommend an immediate resort to war or re- 
prisals ;' and the House Committee, at the same session, re- 
ported that ' the merchant vessels of the United States have 
been fired into, and our citizens put to death.' It should be 
borne in mind that all those insults and injuries were com- 
mitted before the annexation of Texas — before the proposi- 
tion of annexation was ever seriously entertained by this 
government. For ofiences much less aggravated, France 
made her demand for reparation, and proclaimed her ultima- 
tum from the deck of a man-of-war ofl:' Vera Cruz. Redress 
being denied, the French fleet opened their batteries on the 
Castle of San Juan de Ulloa, compelled the fortress to sur- 
render, and the Mexican government to accede to their de- 
mands, and to pay $200,000 in addition, to defray the expenses 
• <t enforcing the payment of the claim. Our wromrs are ter- 


fold gretiter than those of France, in number and enormity 
yet her complaiDts have been heard in tones of thunder from 
the mouths of her cannon. 

" When the question of annexation was recently agitated, 
Mexico gave notice to this government that she would regard 
the consummation of the measure as a declaration of war. 
She made the passage of the resolution of annexation the pre- 
text for dissolving the diplomatic relations between the two 


Mr. Douglas then briefly related the facts relative to Mr. 
Slidell's appointment as minister to Mexico, the contemp- 
tuous reception that he met with there, and his final rejection 
by the government of Paredes ; and also gave a brief sketch 
of the early military operations on both sides. By references 
to the documentary archives of the government, he proved 
that the Rio Grande was the western boundary of Texas, and 
cited the fact that immediately after the battle of San Ja- 
cinto, Santa Anna proposed to General Sam Houston, com- 
mander of the Texan army, to make a treaty of peace by 
which Mexico would recognize the independence of Texas 
with the Rio del Norte as the boundary, and that such a 
treaty was made, in which, the independence of Texas was 
acknowledged by the government de facto of Mexico, and 
the Rio del Norte recognized as the boundary. He showed 
that according to the well-established principles of interna- 
tional law, the acts of the government de facto are binding 
on that nation in respect to foreign states : and concluded by 
a defence of the course pursued by President Polk, in order- 
ing General Taylor to occupy with his forces territory that 
was as m.uch ours as Florida or Massachusetts. 

Mr. Douglas was prominent among those who, in the Ore- 
gon controversy with Great Britain, maintained that ^lui 


title to the whole of Oregon was clear and unquestionable. 
He declared in the House of Representatives, that he would 
never, now or hereafter, yield up one inch of Oregon, either 
to Great Britain or to any other foreign government. He 
advocated the policy of giving notice to Great Britain to ter- 
minate the joint occupation; of establishing a territorial 
government over Oregon, protected by a sufficient military 
force ; and of putting the country at once into a state of pre- 
paration, so that if war should result from the assertion of our 
just rights, we might drive Great Britain and the last vestige 
of royal authority from the continent of North America. 




Mr. Douglas Elected to the TJnited States Senate — He opposes the Wllmot 
Proviso — Speech on the Ten Regiment Bill — Bill for the Establishment 
of the Territory of Nebraska — Pass to Gen. Santa Anna — Exertions of 
Mr. Douglas in procuring Grants of Land to the Illinois Central Railroad 
— He endeavors to extend the Missouri Compromise Line to the Pacific 
Ocean — The Design defeated by Northern Votes — Bill for the Admission 
of California — Indian Titles in the Northwest — Protection to Emigrants. 


Mr. Douglas had been reelected to Congress in 1846 ; but 
before Congress met, the legislature of the State of Illinois 
elected him a senator for six years from the 4th of March. 

So far as the question of slavery was involved in the orga- 
nization of territories and the admission of new States, Mr. 
Douglas early took the position that Congress ought not to 
interfai'e on either side ; but that the people of each Terri- 
tory and State should be allowed to form and regulate their 
domestic institutions in their own way. In accordance with 
this principle, he opposed the WUmot Proviso whenever it 
was brought up. 


On the 30th of January, 1848, Mr. Douglas made a speech in 
the Senate on the Ten Regiment Bill, which provided for t)« 


raising, for a limited time, of an additional military force. In 
this speech, Mr. Douglas alluded to the fact that the war with 
Mexico had been in progress nearly two years. The campaign 
of 1846 had resulted in the most brilliant victories that ever 
adorned the annals of any nation. The States of California, 
New Mexico, Chihuahua, New Leon, and Tamaulipas, besides 
many towns and cities in other Mexican States, had been one 
after another reduced to our possession. After a defence 
of President Polk from the charge of changing his grounds 
in regard to the causes of the war and the objects of prose- 
cuting it, he showed that the war was not one of conquest, 
but of self-defence forced on us by Mexico ; and that the 
declaration of the President, that the first blood of the war 
was " American blood shed upon American soil," was the 
simple truth. " That in order to compel Mexico to do us jus- 
tice, it was necessary to follow her armies into her territory, to 
take possession of State after State, and hold them until she 
would yield to our reasonable demands. Indemnity for the 
past, and security for the future, was the motive of the war." 
When Mr. Bor.glas rose to make this speech, his desk was 
piled with original Mexican documents, all official, from 
which he proved that the Rio Grande always was the western 
boundary of Texas. After first defeating the Mexicans, the 
Texans on the 2d of November, 1836, adopted a declaration 
of independence, and on I7th published their constitution. 
In both of these documents, the Rio Grande was stated as the 
boundary. After the memorable victory of San Jacinto, on 
the 21st of April following, a treaty was made and ratified 
May 12th, between Santa Anna on the part of the Mexican 
government, and Gen. Houston on the part of Texas, which 
prescribed the boundary of Texas, the Rio Grande being the 
western line. 

Mk Douglas then proceeded to show that the war had 
beer .^mmenced by th« a«t of Mexico, and eited the official 


inatructions from President Paredes to the Mexican general 
commanding on the right bank of the Rio Grande, in which 
he says, April, 18, 1846, " It is indispensable that hostilities 
be commenced, yourself taking the initiative against the 
enemy." In closing this speech, Mr. Douglas paid a glowing 
tribute to the volunteers who had so gallantly rushed to the 
standard of their country, and especially to the 7,000 volun- 
teers from Illinois. 


Gen. Santa Anna had been an exile from his country when 
the Mexican War began ; and, desiring to return to Mexico, 
he was permitted to pass through our squadron. This was 
done in pursuance of orders from the War Department to 
the commander of our fleet in the Gulf of Mexico. The 
Government was violently assailed for having permitted this ; 
Mr. Clayton of Delaware having charged the President, by 
giving this pass to Santa Anna, with being guilty of a blunder 
worse than a crime. On the 17th of March, Mr. Douglas, in 
a brief, but comprehensive speech, defended the policy of the 
administration in this matter, and showed that the admission 
of Santa Anna, so far from being a blunder, was a wise and 
politic measure. The results of the war proved that he was 
right, and that Mr. Clayton was mistaken. 


The bill granting to the State of Illinois the right of way 
through the lands of the United States, which had been 
originally introduced into the Senate by Mr. Douglas, 
April 10, 1848, was passed on the 31st of May : the measure 
owing its success mainly to his exertions. The object of the 
bill was to construct a railroad connecting Chicago and the 


great lakes of the Xorth, with the Mississippi River aX 
Cairo. The road was built, and it has proved to be of incal- 
culable benefit, not only to the State of Illinois, but to the 
whole country. 

In the debate on the bill, Mr. Douglas explained that the 
proposed road was to be the entire length of the State from 
north to south, not far from 400 miles. The bill proposed 
to grant the land in alternate sections, increasing the price 
of the other sections to double the minimum price. It was fol 
lowing the same system that had been adopted in reference tt 
improvements of a similar character in Ohio, Indiana, Alabama, 
Iowa, and Wisconsin, by which principle each alternate 
section of land was cede'd, and the price of the alternate 
sections not ceded was doubled, so that the same price is re- 
ceived for the whole. These lands had been in the market 
about twenty-three years ; but they would not sell at the usual 
price of $1 25 per acre, because they were distant from any 
navigable stream. A railroad would make the lands salable 
at double the usual price. The road was begun by the 
State of Illinois in 1836, and about a million of dollars were 
expended upon it by the State. With the exception of the 
county at the northern end of the road, more than one-hall 
of the whole of the lands along the line were then vacant ; 
in most of the counties, it was so. Around the towns the 
land was all taken up and cultivated, but there were larg«» 
prairies where the land was in all its original wildness 


It must be remembered that this was twelve years ago. 
Illinois twelve years ago was very different from the Illinois 
of to-day. There was then not a single mile of railroad in 
the State ; and the greater y art of the line of the proposed 
railroad passed for miles and miles without coming m sight 


of a liouse, or any other indication of civilized life. Wliat a 
contrast now ! The proposed road built, known even in 
Europe as one of the most prosperous in America ; other 
railroads crossing it in all directions ; the reserved alternate 
sections of la.nd nearly all sold, at prices ranging from two 
dollars and a half to seven and a quarter per acre, thus yield- 
ing to the government a much larger sum for one half than 
was before asked for the whole ; the whole of the soil of 
Illinois, acknowledged to be the richest in the world, re- 
deemed from its primitive wildness, blooming and blossoming 
like a garden, and teeming with abundant harvests ; a mar- 
ket brought to every farmer's door ; and this prosperity 
owing its origin and material progress to the exertions oi 
Mr. Douglas in securing the passage of this bill. 

It is but an act of simple justice to those illustrious states 
men to add, that John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, Danie 
Webster, Thomas H. Benton, and Lewis Cass, seconded the 
efforts of Mr. Douglas by able and eloquent speeches in 
(avor of this great measure. 


In August, 1848, Mr. Douglas offered an amendment to 
the Oregon Bill, extending the Missouri Compromise hne 
to the Pacific Ocean, in the same sense and with the same 
understanding with which it was originally adopted in 1820, 
and extended through Texas in 1845. The amendment was 
adopted in the Senate, but was rejected in the House of 
Representatives by northern votes. 

It is important to mark well this fact. The first time that 
the principles of the Missouri Compromise were even aban- 
doned, the first time they were ever rejected by Congress, 
was by the defeat of that provision in the House of Repre- 
Bentatives, in 1848. That defeat was effected by northern 

Stephen A. DOUGLAS. ST 

rotes with Freesoil proclivities. It was that defeat which 
reopened the slavery agitation in all its fury, and caused the 
tremendous struggle of 1850. It was that defeat which cre- 
ated the necessity fcr making a new compromise in 1850. 
Who caused that defeat ? Who was faithless to the prin- 
ciples of the compromise of 1820? It was the very men 
who in 1854, insisted that the Missouri Compromise was a 
solemn compact that ought never to be violated. The very 
men who, in 1854, arraigned Mr. Douglas for a departure 
from the Missouri Compromise, were the men who success- 
fully violated it, repudiated it, and caused it to be super- 


By the time the next session of Congress assembled, Cali- 
fornia had been settled by an enterprising people, whose 
numbers entitled them to admission into the Union as a State. 
A bill " for the admission of California as a State into the 
Union," was introduced by Mr. Douglas on the 29th of Jan- 
uary, 1849 ; but was not acted on till long afterward. 

On the 18th of December, 1849, Mr. Douglas was reelected 
chairman of the Senate Committee on Territories, by 33 out 
of 40 votes; a position to which he was constantly thereafter 
reelected, until December, 1858. 

The tribes of Indians which had, until a few years before, 
occupied the lands in Minnesota, Oregon, California, and New 
Mexico, had never been fully divested of their title to the 
same ; and their constant presence there, and their depreda- 
tions on the settlers, were very annoying ; so much so that the 
settlement of those new Territories was much impeded. 
In order to remove the cause of all the trouble at on^e, Mr. 
Douglas, on the Vth of January, 1850, offered a resolution 
uroviding for the complete extinguishment of the Indian 


title in the Territories above named. The resolution was 
debated at some length, but it was adopted ; and the mea 
sures proposed have been faithfully carried out. Ample 
provision was made for treating the Indians with fairness 
and justice : and while their rights have been respected, and 
their comforts secured, the vast regions which they occupied 
have been secured for all time to come lor the abodes of 
civilized men ; and for the spread of those great fundamental 
principles on which our national prosperity rests. 

At the time that Mr, Douglas introduced his resolution, 
however, the emigrants to those Territories, and especially 
to those of Oregon and California, were annoyed and at- 
tacked to such an extent, by roving bands of Indians, that it 
was considered positively unsafe for emigrants to go any 
further west than the Missouri River. It was clearly the 
duty of the Government to afford protection to its citizens 
on its own soil; and accordingly, on the 3tst of January, 
Mr. Douglas offered a resolution, instructing the committee 
on military affairs to inquire into the expediency of provid- 
ing, on the usual emigrant line from the Missouri River to 
the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains, a sufficient movable 
military force to protect all emigrants to Oregon and Cali- 

To the legislation growing out of this resolution, many 
hundreds of families now living in comfort and even in afflu- 
ence in the smiling villages of Oregon, California, and Min- 
nesota, are indebted, not only for their srifety, but their very 
lives. The instances of emigrant trains saved from the at- 
tack and spoliation of the savages, by our gallant troops on 
the frontier, from 1851 to 1857, are numerous and well 
authenticated The settlers in those new countries owe a 
debt of gratitude to Mr. Douglas which they will not soon 




Mr. Douglas supports the Compromise Measures of Henry Clay — Great 
Speech on ihe 13th and 14th of March — Speech in favor of the Omni- 
bus Bill, June 3 — The Nicholson Letter of General Cass — Mr. Douglas 
returns to Chicago — He is Denounced by the Local Authorities^ 
He beards the Lions in their Den — Speech to the Citizens of Chicago — 
Its Effect. 

W^HEN the Compromise measures of Mr. Clay were 
brought forward in 1850, Mr. Douglas supported them with 
zeal and vigor. On the 13th and 14th of March, he deli- 
vered a speech on the general territorial questions, which has 
scarcely been surpassed by any of his subsequent efforts. It 
was by far the ablest speech that had ever been delivered in 
the Senate by any western man. It was in this speech that 
Judge Douglas first enunciated the doctrine of which he re- 
mained ever the most distinguished advocate, that it is 
the true Democratic principle in reference to the Territories, 
that each one shall be left to regulate its own local and do 
mestic affairs in its own way. 

In the beginning of this great speech, Senator Douglas 
showed that all the acts of the Tyler administration in refer- 
mce to the annexation of Texas (including the proposed 
treaty with Mexico for that object, and the correspondence 
between our secretary of state on the one part, and Mr^ 
King, minister to France and Mr. Murphy, charge d'affaire* 

4:0 TflELlFE Aifi) SPEECHES OB" 

in the republic of Texas, on the other part), had been indig 
nantly and contemptuously rejected by the Senate ; and that 
this had been done in order to repudiate and rebuke the ad- 
ministration of Mr Tyler, and in order that the Democratic 
party might come to the support of the annexation of Texaa 
as they did come, and consummated the annexation upon 
broad, national grounds, elevated far above and totally dis 
connected from the question of slavery. 

OEDi]srAJsrcE OF 1787 had no effect on slavery. 

A distinguished southern senator having said that the 
South had been deprived of its due share of the territories, 
Mr. Douglas responded, " What share had the South in the 
territories ? or the North ? I answer, none at all. The ter- 
ritories belong to the United States as one people, and are to 
be disposed of for the common benefit of all, according to 
the principles of the Constitution. No geographical section 
of the Union is entitled to any share of the territories. 
What becomes of the complaint of the senator, that the 
Ordinance of 1787 excluded the South entirely from that 
vast fertile region between the Ohio and the Mississippi ? 
That ordinance was a dead letter. It did not make the coun- 
try to which it applied, free from slavery. The States formed 
out of the territory northwest of the Ohio, did not become 
free by virtue of the Ordinance, nor in consequence of it. 
Those States became free by virtue of their own will, re- 
corded in the fundamental laws of their own making. That 
is the source of their freedom. In all republican states, laws 
and ordinances are mere nullities, unless sustained by the 
hearts and intellects of the people for whom they are made, 
and by whom they are to be executed. 

STEPHEN A. Douglas 41 


"The Ordinance of 1787 did the South no harm, and the 
North no good. Illinois, for instance, was a slave territory. 
Even in 1840, there were 331 slaves in Illinois. How came 
these slaves m Illinois ? They were taken there under the 
Ordinance, and in defiance of it. The people of Illinois, 
while it was a territory, were mostly emigrants from the 
slaveholding States. But when their convention assembled 
at Kaskaskia in 1818, to form the constitution of the State 
of Illinois, although it was composed of slaveholders, yet they 
had become satisfied, from experience, that the climate and 
productions of Illinois were unfavorable to slave labor. They 
accordingly made provision for a gradual system of emanci- 
pation, by which the State should become eventually free. 
These facts show that the Ordinance had no practical effect 
upon slavery. Slavery existed under the Ordinance ; and 
since the Ordinance has been suspended by the State govern 
ments, slavery has gradually disappeared under the operation 
of laws adopted and executed by the people themselves. A 
law passed by the national legislature to operate locally upon 
a people not represented, will always remain a dead letter, if 
it be in opposition to the wishes and irterests of those who 
are to be affected by it. 

" In regard to the effects of the Missouri Compromise on 
the question of slavery, I do not think that it had any prac- 
tical effect on that question, one way or another : it neither 
curtailed nor extended slavery one inch." 


" We recognize the right of the South, in common with 
our right, to emigrate to the Territories with their property, 


and there hold and enjoy it in subordination to the laws in, 
force there. The senator from South Carolina desires such 
an amendment to the Constitution as shall stipulate that in 
aU time to come, there shall be as many slaveholding States 
in the Union as there are States without slaves. The adop- 
tion and execution of such a provision would be an impossi- 
bility. We have a vast territory which is filling up with an 
industrious and enterprising population, large enough to 
form seventeen new States, one-half of which we may expect 
to see represented in this body during our day. Of these, 
four will be formed out of Oregon, five out of our late acqui- 
sition from Mexico, including the present State of California, 
and two out of Minnesota. Each of these will be free Terri- 
tories and free States, whether Congress shall prohibit slavery 
in them or not. Where are you to find the slave territory 
with which to balance these seventeen free Territories ? In 
Texas ? If Texas should be divided into five States, at least 
three of them will in all probability be free." 


Mr. Douglas then proceeded to advocate, at great length, 
the immediate admission of the State of California under 
her constitution ; and concluded his speech by declaring that 
" this nation owes to the venerable senator from Kentucky 
(Mr. Clay) a debt of gratitude for his services to the Union 
on this occasion. The purity of his motives cannot be 
doubted. He has set the ball in motion which is to restore 
peace and harmony to the Union." 


On the 3d of June, 1850, Mr. Douglas spoke in favor of 
the Omnibus Bill, and in the course of his remarks said : " In 

Stephen a. douglas. 43 

respect to African slavery, the position that I have evei 
taken has been, that this, and all other questions relating to 
the domestic affairs and domestic policy of the Territories, 
ought to be left to the decision of the people themselves. I 
would therefore have much preferred that the bill should 
have remained as it was reported from the Committee on Ter- 
ritories, with no provision on the subject of slavery; and I 
do hope that that clause in the bill will be stricken out. It 
ought not to be there, because it is a violation of principle 
I do not see how we who have argued in favor of the right 
of the people to legislate for themselves on this question, can 
support such a provision without abandoning all the argu- 
ments which we urged in the Presidential campaign of 1848, 
and the principles set forth by the senator from Michigan in 
the Nicholson letter. 

" And, sir, is an institution to be fixed upon a people ic 
opposition to their unanimous opinion ? I, for one, think 
that such ought not to be the case. I desire no provision 
whatever in respect to slavery in the Territories. I wish to 
leave the people of the Territories free to enact such laws as 
they please. But on this one point, I am not left to follow 
ray own judgment, nor my own desire. I am to express the 
will of my constituents. My vote will be in accordance with 
their instructions." 

"We give, in a subsequent part of this work, the Nicholson 
letter referred to by Mr. Douglas, and commend it to the 
perusal of our readers. It will amply repay the time thus spent. 

On the 6th of June, and also on the 26th, Mr. Douglas ad 
dressed the Senate in support of the Compromise measures. 


The Compromise measures of 1850 having been adopted by 
Congress, and that body having adjourned, Mr. Douglaa 


proceeded to Chicago, where he had recently purchased pro 
perty, with a view of making that city his permanent resi- 
dence. It is a well known fact that Chicago has always been 
the hot-bed of abolitionirm, and a prominent station on the 
Underground Railroad. There are many men there who 
have never bowed the knee to the Baal of fanaticism and 
treason, but the majority of the people have always been 
abolitionists. These restless beings had been violently op- 
posed to the Compromise measures, and they raised a storm 
of execration and abuse against Mr. Douglas, because he had 
been prominent in procuring their adoption. The excite- 
ment was fierce and terrific. A venal press, and pulpits dis- 
graced by crazy fanatics, joined in the work of misrepresen- 
tation, abuse, and denunciation. The city council met, and 
passed resolutions denouncing the Compromise and Fugitive 
Slave Law as violations of the law of God and the Constitu- 
tion of the United States ; enjoined the city police to disre- 
gard the law, and called upon the citizens not to obey it. 
On the next evening a meeting was held, composed of twenty- 
five hundred citizens, and in that meeting, in the midst of 
terrific applause, it was determined to defy " death, the dun- 
geon, and the grave," in resistance to the execution of the 
law. Mr. Douglas was then in Chicago : he knew that this 
meeting was to take place ; and he knew, from the character 
of the men who composed it, what the nature of the resolu- 
tions would be. He walked into the meeting, and from the 
stand gave notice that on the next evening he v/ould appear 
there and defend every measure of the Compromise, and 
especially the Fugitive Slave Law, from every objection : and 
he called upon the entire people of the city to come and hear 
him. The announcement was made in the midst of profound 
silence, but was immediately followed by a storm of groans 
and hisses. Mr. Douglas, however, calmly stood his ground 
till the noise subsided, and then, addressing those who had 


hissed and groaned, told them that he was right and they 
were wrong, and that if they would come and hear him he 
v=onld prove it to them. 


On the next evening, in the presence of 4,000 people, with 
til e city council and abolitionists in front of the stand, M'hich 
was surrounded in the rear by a large body of armed negroes, 
including many fugitive slaves, Mr. Douglas made a speech 
in which he vindicated the Compromise measures and the 
Fugitive Slave Law, and proved that the latter was both neces- 
sary and constitutional ; and he answered every objection 
that had been urged against them. The objections relating 
to the right of trial by jury, to the writ of habeas corpus, to 
records from other States, to the fees of the commissioners, to 
the pains and penalties, to the "higher law" — every objec 
tion which the ingenuity and fanaticism of abolitionism could 
invent, was brought up by different persons in the meeting, 
and fully and conclusively answered by Mr. Douglas. What 
was the effect of that speech upon that meeting, comprising 
three-fourths of all the legal voters of the city of Chicago ? 
The people composing that meeting, a majority of whom had, 
the night previously, pledged themselves to open and violent 
resistance to the law, after the conclusion of the speech of 
Mr. Douglas, unanimously adopted a series of resolutions in 
favor of sustaining and carrying into effect every provision 
of the Constitution and laws in resj)ect to the surrender of 
fugitive slaves. The resolutions were written, and submitted 
to the meeting by Mr. Douglas, and cover the entire ground. 
The city council having nullified the law and denounced 
Mr. Douglas as a traitor, the Hon. Buckner S. Morris offered 
the following resolution, which was also adopted : '■'•Resolved^ 
That we, the people of Chicago, repudiate the resolutions 


recently passed by the Common Council of Chicago upon tht 
subject of the Fugitive Slave Law." 


On the following evening, the city council met again, and 
repealed their nullifying resolutions by a vote of twelve 
to one. 

This speech of Mr. Douglas was the first one ever made in 
a free State in defence of the Fugitive Slave Law, and that 
Chicago meeting was the first public assemblage in any free 
State that determined to support and sustain it. 1q their own 
stronghold, its sturdiest opponents had thus encountered 
their first check : the fanatical spirit was rebukod, and the 
supremacy of the Constitution and laws asserted and main- 
tained. Such is the power of eloquence and tie force of 
truth, even in modern times. 

In the Appendix to this work, will be found the two 
documents referred to by Senator Douglas in hiw speech of 
the 13th and 14th of March, 1850; namely, the official dis- 
patch of John C. Calhoun, secretary of state under Jobs 
Tyler, to the How, Wm. R. King, our ambassador to Paris : 
and the Nicholson letter of Gen. Cass. The former is valuable 
as a part of the history of the Tyler administratioa, and as 
showing their views on the subject of the annexation of 
Texas. It is a rare document, and as curious as «'«;» .Sfcaw 
paper in th » history of the country. 


CHArTER vm. 


Speech in faror of maKing Gen, Winfield Scott a Lieu tenant-General— 
Speech on tlie Fugitive Slave Law — Speecli on the Foreign Policy of the 
United States — Retrospective View of the Course of Mr. Douglas in 
Congress up to this Time (1852) — ^Mr. Douglas the real Author of the 
Compromise Measures of 1850 — Bill for the Organization of the Territo- 
ries of Kansas and Nebraska — Mr. Douglas opposes the Oregon Treaty 
with England — Opposes the Peace Treaty with Mexico — Speech on the 
Clayton and Bulwer Treaty — Report on the Organization of Nebraska 
and Kansas — The Nebraska Bill — Debate on it — The bill passed. 

On the 12th of Febraaiy, 1851, Mr. Douglas spoke in favor 

of conferring the rank of Lieutenant-General on General 

Winfield Scott. In the course of his remarks, he said, " I 

would have preferred, however, to have seen this proposition 

put in a shape which would have been more consistent with 

the organization of the army, with reference to what may 

occur in the future. I think that the highest grade in the 

army of the United States should be always vacant in time 

of peace, to be filled when war should occur, by a commission 

to expire at the end of the war. I think that when a war 

occurs, the President of the United States should be at 

liberty to look through the whole line of the army, and 

through the whole line of the citizen soldiery, to select a 

commander-in-chief to conduct that war. I would, therefore, 

like to see the office of lieutenant-general created, to be 


filled when a war arises, and to become vacant at its termj. 


On the 22d, in the debate on the execution of the Fugitive 
Slave Law, shortly after the riot at Boston, Mr. Douglas said : 
" The laws of Illinois have always discouraged negroes from 
coming there. In regard to runaway slaves coming into the 
State, we have a law imposing jjenalties at the discretion of 
the court, upon any citizen of Illinois who would harbor a 
runaway slave. It has I een my fortune, in the course of my 
brief judicial experience, to impose severe penalties upon 
citizens of Illinois for a violation of that law : it remains upon 
the statute book at this day. The senator from Ohio looks 
upon this matter of the rescue of a fugitive at Boston, as a 
trivial transaction. I do not. It is well known that there is 
a systematic organization in many of the free States of this 
Union, for the purpose of evading the obligations of the Con- 
etitution, and to prevent the enforcement of the laws of the 
United States in relation to fugitive slaves. It has, at its 
Lead, men of daring and of desperate purpose ; and the oppo- 
sition to the Fugitive Slave Law is a combined and concerted 
action. It is in the nature of a conspiracy against the govern- 
ment. I say, therefore, that these consj^irators, be they in 
Boston or in Illinois, are responsible for all that any of their 
number may do in resistance to this law. Sir, I hold white 
men now in my sight responsible for the violation of the law 
at Boston. It was done under their advice, under their 
teaching, under the influence of their speeches. The negroes 
m the free States have been armed by the abolitionists during 
the last six months, for the express purpose of violating th« 
Fugitive Slave Law. I have stood in a meeting of 2,000 men, 
tnd heard white men teU the negroes to kiU the first white 


man who attempted to execute this law. I have seen the 
weapons that have been prepared by white abolitionists, to 
enable the negroes to resist. I trust the penalty will fall 
upon the white abolitionists." 

On the 26th of August, 1852, Mr. Sumner, of Massachu- 
setts, made a most violent speech against the Fugitive Slave 
Law, and in favor of its repeal. 

Mr. Douglas said in reply : " The arguments against the 
Fugitive Slave Law, are arguments against the Constitution 
of our country. Gentlemen should pass over the law, and 
make their assaults directly upon the Constitution of the 
United States, in obedience to which the law was passed. 
Let them proclaim to the world that they feel bound tomako 
violent resistance to the Constitution which our fathers have 
transmitted to us. The Constitution provides that no man 
shall be a senator unless he takes an oath to support the 
Constitution. And when he takes that oath, I do not under- 
stand that he has a right to have a mental reservation, ot 
entertain any mental equivocation that he excepts that clause 
which relates to the surrender of fugitives. I know not how 
a man reconciles it to his conscience to take that oath to 
support the Constitution, when he believes that Constitution 
is in violation of the law of God. A man who thus believes, 
and yet takes the oath, commits perjury before God *A)r the 
sake of the temporary honors of a seat on this floor.-' 


On the 11th December, 1851, when the resolution giving, 
a national welcome to Louis Kossuth, of Hungary, was pend- 
ing before the Senate, Mr. Douglas said : " I regret that this 
resolution has been introduced, not because I do not cordially 
sympathize in the proposed reception, but because it cannot 
pass unanimously. Its discussion and a divided vote deprive 


it of its chief merit. I do not deem it material whether th« 
reception of Gov. Kossuth will give offence to the crowned 
heads of Europe, provided it does not violate the laws of 
nations, and give just cause of offence. The question with 
me is, whether the passage of this resolution gives just cause 
of offence according to the laws of nations. I would take no 
step which would violate the law of nations, or give just 
cause of offence to any power on earth. 'N'or do I think that 
a cordial welcome to Gov. Kossuth can be properly construed 
into such cause of offence. Shall it be said that democratic 
America is not to be permitted to grant a hearty welcome to 
an exile who has become the representative of libtral princi- 
ples throughout the world, lest despotic Austria and Russia 
shall be offended? I think that the bearing of this country 
should be such as to demonstrate to all mankind that America 
sympathizes with the popular movement against despotism. 
The principle laid down by Gov. Kossuth as the basis of his 
action, that each state has a right to dispose of her o^vn 
destiny, and regulate her internal affairs in her own way, is 
an axiom in the laws of nations which every state ought to 
recognize and respect. The armed intervention of Russia to 
deprive Hungary of her constitutional rights, was such a 
violation of the laws of nations as authorized England or the 
United States to interfere and prevent the consummation of 
the deed. To say in advance that the United States will not 
interfere in vindication of the laws of nations, is to give our 
consent that Russia may interfere to destroy the liberties of 
an independent nation. I will make no such declaration. 
On the other hand, I will not advise the declaration in ad- 
vance that we will interfere. Something has been said about 
our alliance with England. I desire no alliance with Eng' 



Let us now take a brief retrospective view of the Con. 
gressional life of Mr. Douglas, up to this time. The first 
important vote he ever gave in the House of Representatives 
was in favor of excluding abolition petitions, and his vote 
stands so recorded. His action, ever since he had been a 
member of the Senate, had been governed bj the same prin- 
ciple. When the slavery agitation had been forced upon 
Congress, he met it fairly, directly and fearlessly, and 
endeavored to apply the proper remedy. When the stormy 
agitation arose in connection with the annexation of Texas, 
he originated and first brought forward the Missouri Com- 
promise as applicable to that territory, and had the gratifica- 
tion to see it incorporated in the bill which annexed Texas to 
the United States. He did not deem this a matter of much 
moment as applicable to Texas alone ; but he did conceive it 
to be of vast importance in view of the probable acquisition 
of New Mexico and California. His preference for the Mis- 
souri Compromise was predicated on the assumption that the 
whole people of the United States would be more easily 
reconciled to that measure than to any other mode of adjust- 
ment ; and this assumption rested upon the fact that the 
Missouri Compromise had been the means of an amicable 
settlement of a fearful controversy in 1821, which had been 
acquiesced in cheerfully by the people for more than a 
quarter of a century, and which all parties and sections of 
the ITnion respected and cherished as a fair, just and honor- 
able adjustment. 


Mr. Douglas could see no reason for the application of the 
Missouri line to all the territory owned by the United Sta*^*»« 


in 1821, that would not apply with equal force to its exten 
sion to the Rio Grande, and also to the Pacific, as soon as \va 
should acquire the country. In accordance with these views, 
he brought forward the Missouri Compromise at the session 
of 1845 as applicable to Texas, and had the satisfaction to 
see it adopted. Subsequently, after the war with Mexico 
had commenced, and when, in August, 1846, Mr. Wilmot 
first introduced his proviso, Mr. Douglas proposed to extend 
the Missouri Compromise to the Pacific, as a substitute for 
the Wilmot Proviso. The Wilmot Proviso not only designed 
to prohibit slavery in the territories while they remained ter- 
ritories, but proposed to insert a stipulation in the treaty 
with Mexico, pledging the faith of the nation that slavery 
should never exist in the country acquired, either while it 
remained a territory, or after it should have been admitted 
into the Union as States. Mr. Douglas denounced this pro- 
viso as being unwise, improper, and unconstitutional: he 
never voted for it, and more than once declared that he 
uever would vote for it. When California and New Mexico 
had been acquired without any condition or stipulation in 
respect to slavery, the Wilmot Proviso was disposed of for 

At the time that the question began to be discussed, what 
kind of territorial governments should be established for 
those countries, a severe domestic afiiiction called Mr. Doug- 
las from Washington, and detained him several weeks. On 
his return to the Senate he supported the Clayton bill, 
which passed the Senate, but was defeated in the House of 
Representatives. Mr. Douglas then brought forward his 
original proposition, to extend the Missouri Compromise to 
the Pacific, in the same sense and with the same understand- 
ing with which it was originally adopted. This proposition 
passed the Senate by a large majority, but was rejected, as 
we have seen, by the House of Representatives, Mr. Dougj 


las then conceived the idea of a bill to admit California as a 
State, leaving the people to form a constitution, and to 
settle the question of slavery afterward to suit themselves. 
This bill was introduced by Mr. Douglas with the sanction 
of President Polk. It recognized the right of the people 
of California to determine all questions relating to their 
domestic concerns in their own way ; but the Senate refused 
to pass the bill. All this took place before the Compromise 
measures of Mr. Clay were brought forward. During the 
period of five years that Mr. Douglas had been laboring for 
the adoption of the Missouri Compromise, his votes on the 
Oregon question, and upon all questions touching slavery, 
were given with reference to a settlement on that basis, and 
were consistent with it. 


When Congress met, in December, 1849, Mr. Douglas 
was again placed by the Senate at the head of the Com- 
mittee on Territories, and it became his duty to prepare 
and submit some plan for the settlement of those mo- 
mentous questions, the agitation of which had convulsed 
the whole nation. Early in December, within the first 
two or three weeks of the session, he wrote and laid 
before the Committee on Territories, for their examina- 
tion, two bills : one for the admission of California into the 
Union, and the other containing three distinct measures; 
first, for the establishment of a territorial government for 
Utah ; second, for the establishment of a territorial govern- 
ment for New Mexico ; and third, for the settlement of the 
Texas boundary. These bills remained before the Committee 
on Territories from the month of December, 1849, to the 25th 
of March, 1850. On that day Mr. Douglas reported the bUls, 
and they were, on his motion, ordered to be printed. Thes« 


piinted bills having laid on the tables of all the senators foi 
four weeks, the Senate appointed a committee of thirteen, 
Henry Clay, of Kentucky, chairman. That committee took 
the two printed bills of Mr. Douglas, pasted them together, 
and reported them to the Senate as one bill, which was 
thenceforth known as the Omnibus Bill. Mr, Douglas made 
this statement to the Senate on the 23d of December, 1851, 
while the original Omnibus Bill was yet upon the clerk's 
table. The Committee of Thirteen had drawn a black line 
through the words, " Mr. Douglas^ from the Committee on 
Territories^'''' and in place of them, interlined these other 
words, '"''Mr. Clay^ from the Committee of Thirteen.^ 
reported the following bill." 

The report of the committee will be found in a subsequent 
part of this work. 

Mr. Douglas supported the Omnibus Bill as a joint mea- 
sure ; but the Senate refused to pass the measures together. 
Each one, however, was passed separately ; and each one 
was supported by Mr. Douglas. Well might Mr. Polk 
remark in the House of Representatives, in April, 1852, after 
speaking of the eminent services of Mr. Douglas : " History 
will cherish the record of such fearless and faithful service, 
and administer the proper rebuke to those who from malice 
or envy may seek to detract from his fair fame." 

We give the material features of these bills as they were 
passed, as a part of the history of the times, in the 


On the 23d of December, 1851, Mr. Douglas made a 
speech in the Senate, on the resolutions declaring the Com- 
promise measures of 1850 to be a definitive and final settle* 
ment of all the questions growing out of the subject of 



domestic slavery, in the course of which he took a brief 
review of the votes he had given since the introduction of 
the Compromise measures, and showed that he had supported 
them all. In this speech he said : 

Mr. President ; I claim no merit for having originated and proposed the 
measures contained in the Omnibus Bill. There was no remarkable feature 
about them. They were merely ordinary measures of legislation, well 
adapted to the circumstances, and their merit consisted in the fact 
that separately they could and did pass both Houses of Congress. Being 
responsible for these bills, as they came from the hands of the Committee 
on Territories, I wish to call attention to the fact that they contained no 
prohibition of slavery — no provision upon the subject. And now I come 
to the point which explains my object in stating my votes. The legislature 
of Illinois had passed a resolution instructing me to vote for a bill for the 
government of the territory acquired from Mexico, which should contain 
an express prohibition of slavery in that territory while it remained aa 
territories, leaving the people to do as they pleased when they became a 
State. The instruction was designed in order to compel me to resign my 
seat and give place to a Freesoiler. The legislature knew my inflexible 
opposition to the principles asserted in the instructions, and wished me to 
give place to a Freesoiler, who would come here and carry out abolition 
doctrines. Notwithstanding these instructions, I wrote the bills and re- 
ported them from the Committee on Territories without the prohibition, in 
order that the record might show what my opinions were ; but, lest the 
trick against me might fail, a Freesoil senator offered an amendment in 
the language of my instructions. I knew that the amendment could not 
prevail, even if the vote of Illinois was recorded in its favor. But if I 
resigned my place to an abolitionist, it was almost certain that the bills 
would fail on their passage. I came to the conclusion that duty required 
me to retain my seat. I was prepared to fight and defy abolitionism in all 
its forms, but I was not willing to repudiate the settled doctrine of my 
State, in regard to the right of instruction. Before the vote was taken, I 
defined my position. I denounced the doctrine of the amendment, declared 
my unalterable opposition to it, and gave notice that any vote which might 
be recorded in my name seemingly in its favor, would be the vote of t>fose 
who gave the instructions, and not my own. Under this protest, I le- 
sorded a vote for this and two other amendments embracing the same 
principle, and then renewed my protest against them, and gave notice that 
J should not hold myself responsible for them. Immediately an my retur* 


home, and in a speech to my constituents, I renewed my protest against 
th*^ae votes, and repeated the notice to that infuriated meeting, that they were 
their votes, and not mine. In that speech at Chicago, I said of the territo- 
rial bills : ' These m.easures are predicated on the great fundamental princi- 
ple that every people ought to possess the right of forming and regulating 
their own internal concerns and domestic institutions in their own way. 
If those who emigrate to the territories have the requisite intelligence and 
honesty to enact laws for the government of white men, I know of no 
reason why they should not be deemed competent to legislate for the 
negro. If they are sufficiently enlightened to make laws for the protec' 
tion of life, liberty, and property, of morals and education, to determine 
the relation of husband and wife, of parent and child, I am not aware 
that it requires any higher degree of civilization to regulate the affairs of 
master and servant. My votes and acts have been in accordance with 
these views in all cases, except in the instances in which I voted under 
your instructions. Those were your votes and not mine. I entered ray 
protest against them at the time, before and after they were recorded, and 
shall never hold myself responsible for them.' I made a good many 
speeches of the same tenor, the last of which was at the capital of IlUnois. 
A few weeks afterward the legislature of Illinois assembled, and one of 
their first acts was to repeal the resolution of instructions to which I have 
referred, and to pass resolutions approving of the course of my colleague, 
General Shields, and myself, on the Compromise measures. From that day 
IlUnois has stood firm and unwavering in support of the Compromise 
measures, and of all the compromises of the Constitution. 

Mr. President, if I havt said anything that savors of egotism, tha 
Senate will pardon me. If I had omitted all that was personal to myself, 
my defence would have been incomplete. I am willing to be held respon- 
sible for all my acts, but I wish to be judged by my acts, and not by mali- 
cious misrepresentations. I may have committed errors ; but when I am 
convinced of them, I will acknowledge them like a man, and promptly 
correct them. The Democratic party is as good a Union party as I want, 
and I want to preserve its principles and its organization, and to triumph 
upon its old issues. I desire no new tests, no interpolations upon the <c^ i 

Id December 1853, Mr. Douglas reported the bill to organ- 
ize the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, which formed 
the issues upon which the Democratic and Republican parties 
oecame arrayed against each other. He opposed tbf treaty 


wdth England in relation to the Oregon boundary, com ^ing 
that England had no rights on that coast. He opposed the 
Trist peace treaty with Mexico upon the ground that the boun^ 
djiries were unnatural and inconvenient, and that the provi- 
sions in relation to the Indians could never be executed. The 
United States government has since paid Mexico ten millions 
of dollars to change the boundaries, and to relinquish the 
stipulations in regard to the Indians. He opposed the Clay- 
ton and Bulwer treaty, because it pledged the United States 
in all time to come, never to annex Central America. He 
declared that he did not desire to annex Central America at 
that time, but maintained that the isthmus routes must be 
kept open as highways to the American possessions on the 
Pacific ; that the time would come when the United States 
w^ould be compelled to occupy Central America, and that he 
would never pledge the faith of the republic not to do in the 
future what its interests and safety might require. He also 
declared himself in favor of the acquisition of Cuba, whenever 
that island can be obtained consistently with the laws of 
nations and the honor of the United States. We give this 
speech entire in a subsequent part of this work. 

On the 4th of January 1854, Senator Douglas made the 
following Report relative to the organization of the Territo 
ries of Nebraska and Kansas : 

The Committee on Territories^ to whom was referred a hill for an act to estab- 
lish the Territories of Nebraska, have given the same that serious and 
deliberate consideration which its great importance demands, and beg leave 
to report it back to the Senate, with various amendments, in the favn of 
a substitute for the bill : 

The principal amendments which your committee deem it their duty to 
commend to the favorable action of the Senate, in a special report, are 
those in which the principles established by the Compromise measures o.« 
1850, so far as they are applicable to territorial organizations, are proposed 
to be affirmed and carried into practical operation within the limits of tht 
aew Territory. 


The wisdom of those measures is attested, not less by their salutary 
and beneficial eflTects, in allaying sectional agitation and restoring peace 
and harmony to an irritated a.nd distracted people, than by the cordial ana 
almost universal approbation with which thoy have been received and 
sanctioned by the whole country. In the judj-ment of your Committee, 
those measures were intended to have a far more comprehensive and endur- 
ing effect than the mere adjustment of difficulties arising out of the recent 
acquisition of Mexican territory. They were designed to establish certain 
great principles, which would not only furnish adequate remedies for 
existing evils, but, in all time to come, avoid the perils of similar agitation, 
by withdrawing the question of Slavery from the halls of Congress and 
the political arena, committing it to the arbitration of those who were 
immediately interested in, and alone responsible for, its consequences. 
With a view of conforming their action to what they regard as the settled 
policy of the government, sanctioned by the approving voice of the 
American people, your Committee have deemed it their duty to incorporate 
and perpetuate, in their Territorial Bill, the principles and spirit of those 
measures. If any other consideration were necessary to render the pro- 
priety of this course imperative upon the Committee, they may be found 
in the fact that the Nebraska country occupies the same relative position 
to the slavery question, as did New Mexico and Utah, when those Terri- 
tories were organized. 

It was a disputed point, whether slavery was prohibited by law in the 
country acquired from Mexico. On the one hand, it was contended, as a 
legal proposition, that slavery, having been prohibited by the enactment 
of Mexico, according to the laws of nations, we received the country with 
all its local laws and domestic institutions attached to the soil, so far ai 
they did not conflict with the Constitution of the United States ; and that 
a law either protecting or prohibiting slavery, was not repugnant to that 
instrument, as was evidenced by the fact that one-haif of the States of the 
Union tolerated, while the other half prohibited, the institution of slavery. 
On the other hand, it was insisted that, by virtue of the Constitution of the 
United States, every citizen had a right to remove to any Territory of the 
Union, and carry his property with him under the protection of law, whe- 
ther that property consisted of persons or things. The difficulties arising 
from this diversity of opinion, were greatly aggravated by the fact that 
there were many persons on both sides of the legal controversy, who were 
unwilling to abide the decision of the courts on the legal matters in dis- 
pute ; thus, among those who claimed that the Mexican laws were still in 
force, and, consequently, that slavery was already prohibited in those Ter- 
riljries bj valid enactment, there were many who insisted ipon Congres* 


naking the matter certain, by enacting another prohibition. In like maa- 
ner, some of those who argued that Mexican law had ceased to have any 
binding force, and that the Constitution tolerated and protected slave pro- 
perty in those Territories, were unwilling to trust the. decision of the courts 
upon the point, and insisted that Congress should, by direct enactment, 
remove all legal obstacles to the introduction of slaves into those Ter- 

Such being the character of the controversy in respect to the territory 
acquired from Mexico, a similar question has arisen in regard to the right 
to hold slaves in the Territory of Nebraska, when the Indian laws shall be 
withdrawn, and the country thrown open to emigration and settlement. 
By the 8th section of " an act to authorize the people of Missouri Territory 
to form a constitution and State government, and for the admission of 
such State into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, and 
to prohibit slavery in certain Territories," approved March 6th, 1820, it 
was provided ; " That in all that territory ceded by France to the United 
States under the name of Louisiana, which lies north of 36 degrees 30 
minutes north latitude, not included within the limits of the State contem- 
plated by this act, slavery and involuntary servitude, otherwise than in the 
punishment of crimes whereof the parties shall have been duly convicted, 
shall be, and are hereby, prohibited : Provided always, That any person 
escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in 
any State or Territory of the_ United States, such fugitive may be lawfully 
reclaimed, and conveyed to the persons claiming his or her labor or services 
as aforesaid." 

Under this section, as in the case of the Mexican law in New Mexico 
and Utah, it is a disputed point whether slavery is prohibited in the 
Nebraska country by valid enactment. The decision of this question 
involves the constitutional power of Congress to pass laws prescribing and 
regulating the domestic institutions of the various Territories of the Union. 
In the opinion of those eminent statesmen who hold that Congress is 
invested with no rightful authority to legislate upon the subject of slavery 
in the Territories, the 8th section of the act preparatory to the admission 
of Missouri is null and void ; while the prevailing sentiment in large por- 
tions of the Union sustains the doctrine that the Constitution of the United 
States secures to every citizen an inalienable right to move into any of the 
Territories with hig property, of whatever kind and description, and to 
hold and enjoy the same under the sanction of law. Your Committee do 
not feel themselves called upon to enter upon the discussion of these coa 
troverted questions. They involve the same grave issues which produced 
khe agitation, the sectional strife, and the fearful struggle of 1850. Af 


Congress deemed it wise and prudent to refrain from deciding the matterii 
Ui controversy then, either by affirming or repealing the Mexican laws, or 
j^ an act declaratory of the true intent of the Constitution, and the extent 
»f the protection afforded by it to slave property in the Territories, so 
Tour Committee are not prepared to recommend a departure from the course 
parsued on that memorable occasion, either by affirming or repealing the 
8th section of the Missouri act, or by any act declaratory of the meaning 
of the Constitution in respect to the legal points in dispute. 

Your Committee deem it fortunate for the peace of the country, and the 
security of the Ur.ion, that the controversy then resulted in the adoption 
of the Compromise measures, which the two great political parties, with 
singular unanimity, have affirmed as a cardinal article of their faith, and 
proclaimed to the world as a final settlement of the controversy and an 
end to the agitation. A due respect, therefore, for the avowed opinions 
of senators, as well as a proper sense of patriotic duty, enjoins upon your 
Committee the propriety and necessity of a strict adherence to the princi- 
ples, and even a literal adoption of the enactments of that adjustment, in 
all their territorial bills, so far as the same are not locally inapplicable, 
Those enactments embrace, among other things less material to the mat- 
ters under consideration, the following provisions : 

When admitted as a State, the said Territory, or any portion of the same, 
shall be received into the Union, with or without Slavery, as their consti- 
tution may prescribe at the time of their admission ; 

That the legislative power and authority of said Territory shall be vested 
in the Governor aud a Legislative Assembly ; 

That the legislative power of said Territory shall extend to all rightful 
subjects of legislation, consistent with the Constitution of the United 
States, and the provisions of this act ; but no law shall be passed interfer- 
ing with the primary disposal of the soil ; no tax shall be imposed upon 
the property of the United States ; nor shall the lands or other property 
of non-residents be taxed higher than the lands or other property of 

Writs of error and appeals from the final decisions of said Supreme Court 
shall be allowed, and may be taken to the Supreme Court of the United 
States in the same manner and under the same regulations as from the Cir- 
cuit Courts of the United States, where the value of the property or amount 
in controversy, to be ascertained by the oath or affirmation of either party, 
or other competent witness, shall exceed one thousand dollars ; except onlj 
that. In all cases involving title to slaves, the said writs of error or appeals 
shall be allowed and decided by the said Supreme Court, without regard to 
the value of the matter, property, or title in controversy ; and except, alsa 


that a writ of error or appeal shall also be allowed to the Supreme Court ol 
the United States from the decision of the said Supreme Court by this act, 
»r of any judge thereof, or of the district courts created by this act, or of 
iny judge thereof, upon any writ of habeas corpus involving the question 
of personal freedom ; and each of the said district courts shall have and 
exercise the same jurisdiction, in all cases arising under the Constitution 
and laws of the United States, as is vested in the circuit and district courts 
of the United States; and the said supreme and district courts of the syid 
territory, and the respective judges thereof, shall and may grant writs of 
habeas corpus, in all cases in which the same are granted by the judges of 
the United States in the District of Columbia. 

To which may be added the following proposition aflBrmed by the act of 
1850, and known as the Fugitive Slave Law. 

That the provisions of the " act respecting fugitives from justice, and 
persons escaping from the service of their masters," approved February 12, 
1793, and the provisions of the act to amend and supplementary to the 
aforesaid act, approved September 18, 1850, shall extend to, and be in force 
in, all the organized Territories, as well as in the various States of the 

From these provisions it is apparent that the Compromise measures of 
1850 affirm, and rest upon, the following propositions : 

First : That all questions pertaining to Slavery in the Territories, and the 
new States to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the decision of the 
people residing therein, by their appropriate representatives, to be chosen 
by them for that purpose. 

Second : That " all cases involving title to slaves," and " questions of 
personal freedom," are to be referred to the adjudication of the local tri- 
bunals, with the right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Third : That the provisions of the Constitution of the United States, in 
respect to fugitives from service, is to be carried into faithful execution in 
all " the original Territories," the same as in the States. 

The substitute for the bill which your Committee have prepared, and 
which is commended to the favorable action of the Senate, proposes to 
carry these propositions and principles into practical operation, in the pre 
cise language of the Compromise measures of 1850. 

The bill thus reported was considered in Committee of the 
Whole, and then made the special order for the following 
Monday. The debate was continued Jan. 31st, Feb. 8d, 5tli, 


On the 23d of January, Mr. Douglas, from the Committee 
on Territories, reported a substitute for the (triginal bill, in 
nearly the same terms, in which, after defining the limits of 
the territory, it was proposed to constitute it a Territory, to 
be afterward admitted as a State, with or without slavery, as 
their constitution may prescribe at the time of their admis- 
sion. It was declared to be the true intent and meaning of 
the act to carry into practical operation the principles of the 
Compromise measures of 1850, to wit. That all questions 
pertaining to slavery in the Territories, and in the new States 
to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the decision of the 
people residing therein ; and that the provisions of the Con- 
stitution and laws of the United States, in respect to fugitives 
from service, are to be carried into faithful execution in all 
the organized Territories. To the Avords " the Constitution 
and all laws of the United States not locally inapplicable, 
shall have the same force and effect within the said Territory 
as elsewhere in the United States," the substitute proposed 
to add these words : " Except the 8th section of the Act for 
the admission of Missouri into the Union, approved March 
6, 1820, which was superseded by the Compromise measures 
of 1850, and is declared inoperative.' 


On the 30th of January, Mr. Douglas made his first speech 
m favor of the Nebraska Bill. We give the speech in a sub- 
sequent part of this work. 

On the 15th of February, Mr. Douglas moved to strike 

out of his substitute the assertion that the Missouri restric- 
tion " was superseded by the Compromise measures of 1850," 
and insert instead the following : 

" Which, being inconsistent with the principle of non-intervention by 
Ck>ngres3 with Slavery in the States and Territories^ as recognized by the 


[egislation of 1850 (commonly called the Compromise measures), is hereby 
declared inoperative and void ; it being the true intent and meaning of 
this act not to legislate slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude 
it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and 
regulate their domestic institutioci? in their own way, subject only to the 
Constitution of the United States," 

which prevailed — yeas 35, nays 10 — as follows: 

Yeas— /or Bougla/i' Amendment : Messrs. Adams, Atchison, Bayard, 
Bell, Benjamin, Brodhead, Brown, Butler, Cass, Clayton, Dawson, Dixon, 
Dodge of Iowa, Douglas, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Geyer, Gwin, Hunter, John- 
son, Jones of Iowa, Jones of Tenn, Mason, Morton, Norris, Pierce, Pettit, 
Pratt, Sebastian, Slidell, Stuart, Thompson of Ky. Toombs, Weller 
Williams — 35. 

Nays — against the Amendment : Messrs. Allen, Chase, Dodge of Wise, 
Everett, Fish, Foote, Houston, Seward, Sumner, Wade — 10, 

The vote on this amendment is significant, and we invite 
to it the attention of the reader. Here we have the em- 
phatic declaration of every Democratic senator, especially of 
every Democratic senator from the slave States, in favor of 
the great peace measure of non-intervention with slavery in 
ihe States and Territories, avowing "the true intent and 
meaning of this act to be, not to legislate slavery into any 
Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave 
the people thereof free to form and regulate their domestic 
institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution 
of the United States." How this doctrine, deemed sound, 
then, contrasts with the late shibboleth of the Senate caucus, 
that if the people of a Territory want slavery. Congress 
shall not interfere, but if they do not want it, Congress is to 
legislate it on them. 

Mr. Badger of N. C. moved to add to the aforesaid sec- 

" Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to reviv* 


or put in force any law or regulation which may have existed prior to th« 
to the act of 6th of March, 1820, eithei protecting, establishing, prohibit 
ing, or abolishing Slavery." 

Carried — yeas 35, nays 6. 

It had been charged by Edmund Burke, of "Ne^ Hamp- 
shire, and other Abolition enemies of the measure at the 
north, that the repeal of the restriction would revive slavery 
in Kansas and Nebraska, by putting in force the old French 
laws. The object of Mr. Badger was to set this slander at 
rest. Every Southern Democrat voted for the proviso. 

The question on the engrossment of the bill was now 
reached, and it was carried — yeas 29, nays 12 — as follows : 

Yeas — To engross the bill for its third reading: Messrs. Adams, 
A.tchison, Badger, Benjamin, Brodhead, Brown, Butler, Clay, Dawson, 
Dixon, Dodge of Iowa, Douglas, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Gwin, Hunter, John- 
son, Joues of Iowa, Jones of Tenn., Mason, Morton, Norris, Pettit, Pratt, 
Sebastian, Shields, Shdell, Stuart, Williams— 29. 

Nats — against the engrossment : Messrs. Chase, Dodge of Wise, 
Fessenden, Fish^ Foot, Hamlin, James, Seward, Smith, Sumner, Wade^ 
Walker— 12. 

On the night of the 3d of March, 1854, Mr. Douglas 
closed the debate in a speech of great eloquence and ability. 
The attention of the reader is particularly directed to those 
passages in which Mr. Douglas speaks of the necessity for 
the organization of these Territories ; and to his elucidation 
of what had generally been called the Missouri Compromise, 
in which he proves that Missouri was not admitted into the 
Union under the Missouri restriction, the Act of 1820, but 
under Mr. Clay's compromise, or joint resolution, of March 
2, 1821 ; and also to the broad nationality of the views of the 
whole speech. We give it entire in a subsequent part of the 


The vote was then taken, and the bill passed — yeas 37, 
Days 14. So the bill was passed, and its title declared to be 
" An Act to organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kan- 
sas." The bill being approved by the President, became a 
law. We give it entire, in a subsequent part of this work. 




It is difficult to give a full idea of the excitement that pre* 
vailed at Chicago, at the time of the passage of the Nebraska 
bill. It far surpassed the excitement in 1850, relative to the 
Compromise measures. The ranks of the Abolitionists, 
always full there, had been largely recruited during the 
last three years : and among the new converts were many 
professed ministers of the Gospel. These men eagerly seized 
on any pretext that would give them a little notoriety, and as 
the public mind, that is to say, the Abolition sentiment in 
Chicago, was already worked up to a high pitch, they con- 
ceived the idea of treating Senator Douglas as a delinquent 
schoolboy. Accordingly, they addressed to him, and pub- 
lished in the Chicago daily papers at the same time, a most 
scurrilous and abusive letter, in which they impiously arro- 
gated to themselves the authority to speak " in the name of 
Almighty God," and soundly berated Mr. Douglas for his 
course in the Senate. With admirable temper, Mr. Douglas 
wrote them a letter, which will be found in a subsequent part 
of this work. 

In the autumn of 1854, Mr. Douglas returned to Chicago. 
The city was convulsed with excitement. The Nebraska 
Bill, and its author, were denounced in the most bitter and 
violent manner. Neither were understood. The opposition 
•rgans, the *' Tribune," the " J6urnal," and the " Press," had 


for months teemed with articles written in the most savage 
style, in which the Nebraska Bill and its provisions had been 
studiously misrepresented and misquoted, and Mr. Douglas 
vilified and abused as the author of countless woes to genera- 
tions yet unborn. It is no compliment to the intelligence of 
the readers and supporters of these papers to state what is, 
nevertheless, the fact, that these statements were swallowed 
with eager credulity, and that Mr. Douglas was regarded by 
the Abolitionists as a monster in human form. 

In a few days after his arrival in Chicago, Mr. Douglas 
caused the announcement to be made that he would address 
the citizens in vindication of the Nebraska BUI. A meeting 
was accordingly appointed, to take place at North Market 
Hall. At the hour of meeting, the vast space in front of the 
Hall was filled with men, the crowd numbering nearly ten 
thousand persons. Probably one-third of the number were 
really desirous to hear the senator's speech ; but by far the 
greater part of the crowd were violent and radical Abolition 
ists, who were determined that he should not speak. 


Mr. Douglas appeared before the meeting, on an open bal- 
cony, and commenced his address. He alluded to the excite- 
ment that prevailed, but asked a patient hearing, and pro 
raised his auditc to be as brief as he could be, consistently 
with a full exposition of the subject. He spoke of the sacred 
rights of the people of the Territories to form and regulate 
their domestic institutions in their own way ; the great prin- 
ciple that lay at the foundation of the Nebraska Bill. At this 
part of his remarks, several prominent Abolitionists com- 
menced to groan and hiss. Others followed the eramplo. 
The noise and tumult increased. 

The senator stopped speaking, and stood calmly, with his 


arms folded upon his breast, and his eye surveying the angry 
and excited multitude. He waited patiently till the noise sub- 
sided, and then, stretching forth his hand, he proceeded. He 
described the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, and alluded 
to the fact that for the last ten years, he had endeavored, at 
every session of Congress, to have them organized. Here 
the groans and hisses were redoubled in violence, and came 
from all parts of the meeting. The most opprobrious epi- 
thets were applied to Mr. Douglas, and the most insulting 
language used to him by rowdies in the crowd. In vain se- 
veral gentlemen endeavored to restore order. The Aboli- 
ticmists were determined that Mr. Douglas should not be 
heard; and they succeeded. For nearly four hours after this 
did Mr. Douglas essay to make himself heard ; and each time 
did the yells and hootings of the infuriated multitude drown 
his voice. At last, it being Saturday night, he deliberately 
pulled out his watch under the gaslight, and observing that 
it was after twelve o'clock, he said in a stentorian voice, 
which was heard above the din of the crowd: "Abolitionists 
of Chicago ! it is now Sunday morning. I will go to church, 
while you go to the devil in your own way." 


In her whole history, Chicago has never witnessed so ais- 
graceful a scene as this. There was a parallel occurrence in 
the life of Rienzi, the last of the Roman Tribunes, thus 
described by the great English novelist : 

" On they came, no longer in measured order, as stream after stream — 
from lane, from alley, from palace, and from hovel — the raging sea received 
new additions. On they came — their passions excited by their numbers — 
women and men, children and malignant age — in all the awful array of 
aroused, released, unresisted physical strength and brutal wrath : ' Death 
to the traitor — death to the tyrant — death to him who has taxed the peo 


pie !' ' Mora '1 traditore che ha fatta la gabella ! — Mora !' Such was the 
cry of the people — such the crime of the senator ! They broke over the 
low palisades of the capitol— they filled with one sudden rush the vast 
space — a moment before so desolate — now swarming with human beings 
athirst for blood ! 

" Suddenly came a dead silence, and on the balcony above stood Rienzi 
— his face was bared, and the morning sun shone over that lordly brow, 
and the hair grown grey before its time, in service of that maddening mul 
titude. Pale and erect he stood — neither fear, nor anger, nor menace — 
but deep grief and high resolve upon his features ! A momentary shame 
—a momentary awe, seized the crowd. 

" He pointed to the gonfalon, wrought with the republican motto and 
arras of Rome, and thus he began : 

" ' I too am a Roman and a citizen ; hear me !' 

" ' Hear him not ; hear him not ! his false tongue can charm away our 
senses!' cried a voice louder than his own; and Rienzi recognized Cecco 
del Vecchio. 

" 'Hear him not ; down with the tyrant !' cried a more shrill and youth- 
ful tone ; and by the side of the artisan stood Angelo Villani. 

" ' Hear him not; death to the death-giver!' cried a voice close at hand, 
and from the grating of the neighboring prison glared near upon him, aa 
the eye of a tiger, the vengeful gaze of the brother of Montreal. 

" Then from earth to Heaven rose the roar — ' Down with the tyrant — 
down with him who taxed the people !' 

"A shower of stones rattled on the mail of the senator — still he stirred 
Dot. No changing muscle betokened fear. His persuasion of his own 
wonderful powers of eloquence, if he could but be heard, inspired him yet 
with hope. He stood collected in his own indignant but determined 
thoughts ; but the knowledge of that very eloquence was now his deadliesi 
foe. The leaders of the multitude trembled lest he should be heard; 
' ajid doubtless,^ says the contemporaneous biographer, ' had he hut spake* 
he would have changed thein all.'' " 

Thus it was at the meeting at the !N"orth Market H^l. 
The leaders of the multitude trembled lest Douglas she Jibe 
heard ; they remembered the effect of his eloquence in lii50, 
and they knew tliat if he was permitted to speak n( u, he 
could and would convince the citizens of Chicago, f( i the 
"econd time, that he was right and they were wrong. 



After the close of the canvass of that year, in which INIr 
Douglas had addressed the people in every portion of Illinois, 
he returned to Chicago, and on the 19th of November, two 
hundred and fifty gentlemen of that city, personal and po- 
litical friends of Senator Douglas, tendered him the compli- 
ment of a public dinner at the Tremont House. After the 
repast, and in response to a toast in compliment to the " dis- 
tinguished guest, the originator and successful advocate of 
the Illinois Central Railroad, and the champion of State 
Rights and Constitutional Liberty," Mr. Douglas made the 
speech which we give in a subsequent part of this work. 

In this speech, Mr. Douglas takes up and critically ex' 
amines the Nebraska Bill, and proves the soundness of the 
principles on which it is founded : he fastens upon the House 
of Representatives in 1848 the responsibility for all the sub- 
sequent slavery agitation, by their rejection of the Missouri 
Compromise line, after it had passed the Senate : he proves 
that the Abolitionists and Freesollers, by supporting Van 
Buren, pledged themselves to blot out the Missouri Compro- 
mise line : he calls to the recollection of his hearers the fact, 
that he was abused and vilified in the year 1848, and called 
" Stephen A. Douglas the solitary exception," meaning that he 
was the only northern member of Congress who was in favor 
of adhering to the Missouri Compromise line ; and the other 
fact, that the same Abolitionists and Freesoilers now pretend 
to support a measure which they then declared infamous. 
He graphically describes the manner in which the Compro- 
mise measures of 1850 were formed ; and then, passing again 
to the Nebraska Bill, he shows that its great principle was 
to guarantee to the people of all the new Territories the right 
(which the Constitution of the United States had already 


secured, out which the Missouri Compromise had taken 
away) of determining the question of slavery for themselves. 
He proves, by the unequivocal testimony of the oldest and 
wisest patriots of the country, that the Abolitionists have 
proved to be the very worst enemies of the slaves, have riveted 
stronger their chains, taken away some of the privileges 
which they had before enjoyed, and actually put a stop to 
their owners emancipating them. 


The last part of the speech is a complete and searching ex- 
position of the platform and principles of the new " Repub- 
lican party " which had just been formed. He proves it to 
be purely an abolition party, the principles of which 
were entirely sectional, arraying the Korth against the South, 
and which, of course, cv>uld never be a national party. We 
give this gpeecli e^the 1p a p^^o^^jf f*Qt part of this work. 




Report of Mr. Douglas on the Territorial Policy of the (loveramont — 
Speech in Reply to Trumbull, and in Support of the Bill authorizing the 
People of Kansas to form a Constitution and State Government — Speech 
in Reply to Mr. Collamer — The Bill passed by the Senate — Report of 
Mr. Douglas on the House Bill. 


The 34th Congress met on the first Monday in December, 
1855, but the House of Representatives was unable to 
organize or to choose a Speaker for nine weeks. On the 
31st of December, President Pierce transmitted his An- 
nual Message to Congress, in which he only slightly alluded 
to the recent troubles in Kansas. On the 24th of January, 
however, he sent a special message to Congress in regard to 
the affairs in Kansas, which will l>e found in a subsequent 
part of this work. 

On the 12th of March, 1856, Mr. Douglas made his great 
report on the affairs of Kansas Territory. In this report, he 
elucidates the constitutional principles under which new 
States may be admitted, and Territories organized. He ex 
DOses the designs of the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Soci 
ety ; traces from their inception the treasonable acts of thai 
uecret military organization, the " Kansas Legion ;" and 


proves that all the troubles in Kansas originated in attempts 
to violate or circumvent the principles and provisions of the 
Nebraska Bill. This report will be found m a subsequent 
part of this work. 

Mr. Jacob Collamer, of Vermont, who constituted the 
minority of the committee, made a minority report on the 
same day. 

trtjmbull''s speech. 

Two days afterward, on the 14th of March, Mr. Lyman 
Trumbull, who had taken his seat a few days before, as a 
senator from Illinois, in the place of General Shields, ad- 
dressed the Senate in opposition to the views expressed in 
the report of Mr. Douglas. Mr. Douglas was absent from 
the Senate chamber at the time, but notwithstanding his 
knowledge of this fact, Mr. Trumbull was offensively per- 
sonal. It might have been supposed that in making his first 
speech in the Senate, Mr. Trumbull would have had some 
regard to common decency and propriety. But in point of 
fact, he was so violent and coarse in his invective as to dis- 
gust the whole body of senators. As soon as the rules of the 
Senate would permit, he was stopped by Mr. Weller of Cali- 
fornia, who called for the special order of the day, which was 
the bill to increase the efficiency of the army. But as this 
was his first speech, he had the effrontery to insist upon con- 
tinuing his rigmarole of abuse, and did go on till nearly 4 
o'clock. Shortly before that time, Mr. Douglas entered the 
Senate chamber, and when Mr. Trumbull had exhausted the 
'ials of his wrath, and sat down, Mr. Douglas said : 

Mr. President, I was very much surprised when it was communi- 
cated to me this afternoon that my colleague was making a speech 
on the Kansas question, in which he was arraigning my own conduct 
and the statements and principles set forth in the report which I had 
the honor to submit to the Senate two days since from tlie Ogmmitt-ee 
on Territories. 


The feeble state of my own health, which is well known to the 
Senate, rendered it imprudent for me to be in the Senate chamber 
to-day, and I stayed away for that reason. I never dreamed that 
any man in this body would so far forget the courtesies of life, and 
the well known usages of the Senate, as to make an assault in my 
absence in violation of the distinct understanding of the body when 
the subject was postponed. 

My colleague says that he did not know that T was not here, l^ow, 
I am informed that my friend from Texas (Mr. Rusk), when the 
morning hour expired, suggested, among other reasons for a post' 
ponement, that I was absent. The senator from Texas told my col- 
league that I was absent, and, therefore, according to the courtesies 
of the Senate, his speech should have been postponed. In the face 
of a fact known to every man present, ray colleague now dares to 
say that he did not know I was absent. 

Sir, I believe in fair and free discussion. Whatever speeches I 
may have to make in reference to my colleague or his political posi- 
tion, or in reference to other senators, will be made to their faces. 
I do not wish to avoid the responsibility of a reply to the points that 
shall be made. I will not attempt to reply to my colleague upon 
hearsay, having been absent, from the causes which I have stated 
during the delivery of the greater portion of his speech. I desire, 
however, to ask him, with a view to fix the time for the discussion 
of the subject, at what period of time I may reasonably look for his 
printed speech? I desire to reply to its statements, and I ask the 
question with a view to have the subject postponed until the time 
which he may name. 

Mb. Trumbull. — I think my remarks will be published on Mon- 

Me. Douglas. — If I can rely on seeing the speech published in the 
*' Globe " on Monday, I will reply to it on Tuesday; and I shall ask 
the Senate to accord to me that courtesy. I propose to reply on the 
next day after its publication. 

Me. Sewaed and Me. Tbumbull. — Take your own time. 

Mr. Douglas. — Sir, I understand this game of taking my own 
time. Last year, when the Nebraska Bill was under consideration, 
the senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Sumner) asked of me t|;ie cour- 
tesy to have it postponed for a week, until he could examine the 
question. I afterward discovered that, previous to that time, he had 
written an exposition of the bill — a libel upon me — and sent it oif 
under his own frank ; and the postponement thus obtained by my 
courtesy was in order to take a week to circulate the libel. I do not 
choose to take my own time in that way again. I wish to meet 
these misrepresentations at the threshold. If I am right, give me an 
opportunity to show it. Jf my colleague is right, I desire to give 
him the fullest and fairest opportunity to show it. 



I desire now to say a word upon another point. I understand that 
jiy colleague has told the Senate, as being a matter very material to 
this issue, that he comes here as a Democrat, having always been a 
Democrat. Sir, that fact will be news to the Democracy of Illinois. 
1 undertake to assert there is not a Democrat in Illinois who will 
not say that such a statement is a libel upon the Democracy of that 
State. When he was elected, he received every Abolition vote in 
the Legislature of Illinois. He received every Know Nothing vote 
in the Legislature of Illinois. So far as I am advised and believe, he 
received no vote except from persons allied to Abolitionism or Know 
Nothingism. He came here as the Know-Nothing- Abolition candi- 
date, in opposition to the united Democracy of his State, and to the 
Democratic candidate. How can a man who was elected afi an 
Abolition Know Nothing, come here and claim to be a Democrat, in 
good standing with the Democracy of Illinois? Sir, the Illinois De- 
mocracy have no sympathies or alliances with Abolitionism in any 
of its forms. They have no connection with Know Nothingism in 
any of its forms. If a man has ever been a Democrat, and becomes 
either an Abolitionist or Know Nothing, or a Free Soiler, he ceases 
that instant to be a Democrat in Illinois. 

Sir, why was the statement of my colleague being a Democrat 
made, unless to convey the idea that the Illinois Democracy would 
harbor and associate with a Know Nothing or an Abolitionist ? Sir, 
we do no such thing in Illinois. There is a high wall and a deep 
ditch between the national Democracy of that State, including the 
old national Whigs, on the one side, and all Know Nothing and Abo- 
lition organizations on the other. I can say to senators that Know 
Nothingism and Abolitionism in Illinois are one and the same thing. 
Every Know Nothing lodge there adopted the Abolition creed, and 
every Abolition society supported the Know Nothing candidates. 
It may be different in the South ; but in the Northwest, and espe- 
cially in Illinois, a Know Nothing or an Abolitionist means a 
Rebublican. My colleague is the head and front of Republi- 
canism in Illinois in opposition to Democracy. You might as well 
call the distinguished senator from New York (Mr. Seward), or the 
member from Massachusetts (Mr. Sumner), or any other leader 
of the Republican forces, a Democrat, as to call my colleague a 
Democrat. Why has that assertion been brought into this debate ? 
Did it prove that my report was wrong? Did it prove that it was 
courteous to make an assault on that report in my absence ? 

On the I7th of March, Mr. Douglas reported from the 
Committee on Territories, " A bill to authorize the People 


of the Territory of Kansas to form a Constitution and State 
government, preparatory to their admission into the Union 
when they have the requisite jDopulation." 

On the 20th of March, Mr. Douglas addressed the Senatt 
in support of this bill, and in reply to the tirade of Mr. 
Trumbull. In this speech, he vindicates his report ; shows 
that the report of Mr. Collamer keeps out of sight the mate- 
rial facts of the case ; and proves that it was the design of 
the reckless leaders of the Freesoil party, to produce a con- 
flict with the Territorial government. He defends the Mis- 
»»ourians from the charge of invading and conquering Kansas, 
and proves that the whole responsibility of all the disturb- 
ances in Kansas, rests upon the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid 
Society. When he reached the concluding paragraph of his 
remarks, he turned to where Trumbull uneasily sat, and fix- 
ing upon him his eagle eye, pronounced in a clear and sonor- 
ous voice, and in emphatic tones, those words referring to 
the certainty of the fact that even in the United States, the 
traitor's doom would fall upon the traitor's head. Trumbull 
turned pale, and his head sank upon his breast. He felt 
that he was convicted. 

The speech will be found in a subsequent part of this 


Mr. Collamer made a speech upon the same subject, on tne 
3d of April, and on the 4th, Mr. Douglas responded. Mr. 
Collamer had labored hard to show that the free State men 
in Kansas were not such bad fellows after all. But in thib 
speech Mr. Douglas shows by incontestable evidence, theii 
blood-thirsty nature, their determination to conquer all who 
did not believe with them, and to resist the constituted 
authorities to a bloody issue, and their preparations of arma 
and munitions of war, with which to resist. He raises tbf 


specious veil of "peaceful emigration," which concealed the 
movements of the free State party in Kansas, and exposes the 
secret springs by which they were really actuated, showing 
that they were guilty of rebellion and treason. This speech 
is a full and complete exposition of the real history of Kan- 
sas, up to that tlme.^ The reader will not fail to observe, 
toward the conclusion of the speech, how completely Mr. 
Douglas exposes the hypocrisy of the Black Republican 
party ; and how conclusively he shows the hollo wness and 
insincerity, as well as the inconsistency and heartlessness, of 
their professions of regard for the negro. Strong in the 
consciousness of the rectitude of the principles of the Demo- 
cratic party, he delineates, with withering scorn, the incon- 
sistent and jarring elements that make up the creed of 
the Republican faith, and dares the leaders of that party 
to the fight. Like some experienced general, at the head oi 
a numerous and well disciplined army, an army which loves, 
idolizes, and trusts in their leader — knowing his own strength 
and confident of victory because he knows that his cause is 
iust, he throws down the gage of battle, and challenges 
thCj^-onset of the opposing squadrons. The leaders of the 
Republican party quailed before him in the Senate ; as that 
party itself afterward quailed under the irresistible charge of 
the Democracy. The speech will be found in a subsequent 
part of this work. 

On the 30th of June, Mr. Douglas reported to the Senate 
on several bills submitted for the pacification of Kansas, as 
also most decidedly against Mr. Seward's proposition to 
admit Kansas as a State under the bogus " Topeka " consti- 

Mr. Seward then moved to strike out the whole of Mr. 
Douglas' bill, and insert instead, one admitting Kansas under 
the Topeka constitution. This motion was defeated — ayes 1 1 
iL^iys 36. 


The bill was now reported as amended, and the amend 
ment made in Committee of the Whole concurred in. The 
bill was then (8 a.m. on the 3d, the Senate having been in 
sef^sion all night), ordered to be engrossed and read a third 
time ; and, on the question of its final passage the vote stood 
— yeas 33, nays 12 — as follows : 

Yeas— Messrs. Allen, Bayard, Bell of Tennessee, Benjamin, Biggs, Bigler, 
Bright, Brodhead, Bro-vrn, Cass, Clay, Crittenden, Douglas, Evans, Fitzpatrick, 
Geyer, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, Jones of Iowa, Mallory, Pratt, Pugh, Reid, 
Sebastian, Slidell, Stuart, Thompson of Kentucky, Toombs, Toucey, Weller, 
Wright, and Yulee— 33. 

Nays — Messrs. Bell, of New Hampshire, CoUamer, Dodge, Durkee, Fessen- 
den, Foot, Foster, Hale, Seward, Trumbull, "Wade, and Wilson — 12. 

So the bill passed the Senate. We give it, in the shape iii 
which it was sent to the House, in a subsequent part of this 
work. ^^ 

On the 8tli of July, Mr. Douglas reported back fronWfcfi 
Committee on Territories the House bill to admit Kansas as a 
State, with an amendment striking out all sfter the enacting 
clause, and inserting instead the Senate bill (No 356) just 
referred to. 

Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, moved that all the Territorial 
laws of Kansas be repealed and the Territorial officers dis- 
missed : rejected — yeas 12, nays 32. 

Mr. Collamer of Vermont, proposed an amendment, pro- 
hibiting slavery in all that portion of the Louisiana purchase 
noriu of 36° 30' not incliiding the Territory of Kans^as 
rejected — yeas 12, nays 30. 


The amendment reported by Mr. Douglas (^. e. the Senate 
bill as passed) was then agreed to — yeas 32, nays 13 — and the 
bill in this shape passed the Senate. But the House of 
Representatives, where the majority was composed of a 
fusion of all shades and classes of opponents refused to act 
upon it, or to concur 'd it, and the session terminated without 
the concurrence of the Houpc 




k Retrospect — Origin and Causes of Disagreement with the President— 
Not Provoked by Mr. Douglas — Mr. Buchanan owes his Nomination at 
Cincinnati to Mr. Douglas — Telegraphic Dispatches — His Efforts to Elect 
Mr. Buchanan in 1856 — Speech at Springfield in 1857, defending the 
Administration — President's Instructions to Governor Walker — Consti- 
tution to be Submitted — Executive Dictation — Differences of Opinion 
tolerated on all Subjects except Lecompton — Mr. Douglas' Propositions 
for Adjustment — Resolutions of Illinois Democracy — Controversy termi- 
nated by the English Bill — War Renewed by the Administration — Coali- 
tion between the Federal Officeholders and the Abolitionists— Mr. Dou- 
glas' last Speech in the Senate preparatory to Illinois Canvass. 

In order that the reader may appreciate the nature and im. 
portance of the issues involved in the memorable senatorial 
canvass in Illinois in 1858, it is but proper we should state 
distinctly the origin and causes of the unfortunate disagree- 
ment between Mr. Douglas and the administration of Mr. 

It will be remembered that Mr. Buchanan owed his nomi. 
nation at Cincinnati to the direct and personal interposition 
of Mr. Douglas. But for the telegraphic dispatches which 
he sent to his friends urging the withdrawal of his own name 
and the unanimous nomination of Mr. Buchanan, that gentle- 
Qian could never have received the nomination by a two- 
thirds vote, according to the rules of the convention and the 
usages of the party. 


Tliese dispatches are important, serving to show the mag- 
nanimity of Mr. Douglas, and his anxiety to promote the 
union and harmony of the Democratic party. 

The names of James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Lewis 
Cass, and Stephen A. Douglas, were put in nomination by 
their respective friends. There were 296 votes in the Con- 
vention. On the first ballot Buchanan received 135^, Pierce 
122|, Douglas 33, and Cass 5. Judge Douglas' votes were 
from the following States : Ohio, 4 ; Kentucky, 3 ; Illinois, 
11 ; Missouri, 9; Iowa, 4 ; Wisconsin, 2. There were very few 
changes in the ballotings until after the fourteenth, when 
Pierce was withdrawn. The two succeeding ballots were 
about the same. The sixteenth was as follows : Buchanan, 
168; Douglas, 122; Cass, 6. When this ballot was an- 
nounced. Col. Richardson, of Illinois, arose, and after making 
a short explanatory speech, said that he had just received a 
dispatch from Judge Douglas, which he sent to the chair to 
be read, after which, he said he would withdraw that gentle- 
man's name from before the Convention. This dispatch ia 
so characteristic of Senator Douglas, that we cannot refraii? 
from reproducing it here. Its self-sacrificing spirit, its con 
ciliatory tone, and its pure Democracy, commend it to the 
attention of the country at the present state of political 
affairs. It breathes the spirit of devotion to the Democratic 
party which has ever characterized the public life of its great 
author. It applies to the Presidential Convention system 
the great principle for which his whole life has been devoted 
—the principle that the majority should rule. Let it be re- 
membered, that in the Cincinnati Convention he would not 
allow his name to be used one moment after any other states- 
man had received a majority of the votes I But here is 
Judge Douglas' letter, and we ask for it the careful perusal 
of every Democrat in the nation; 


Washinoton, Jimt 4, 1856. 

Deak Sie : From the telegraphic reports in the newspapers, I fear 
that an embittered state of feeling is being engendered in the Con- 
vention, which may endanger the harmony and success of our party. 
I wish you and all my Mends to bear in mind that I have a thou- 
sand fold more anxiety for the triumph of our principles than for 
my own personal elevation. 

If the withdrawal of my name will contribute to the harmony of 
our party, or the success of our cause, I hope you will not hesitate 
to take the step. Especially is it my desire that the action of the 
Convention will embody and express the wishes, feelings, and prin- 
ciples of the Democracy of the republic ; and hence, if Mr, Pierce, 
or Mr. Buchanan, or any other statesman, who is faithful to the 
great issues involved in the contest, shall receive a majority of the 
Convention, I earnestly hope that all my friends will unite in insur- 
ing him two-thirds, and then in making his nomination unanimous. 
Let no personal considerations disturb the harmony or endanger the 
triumpli of our principles. 

S. A. Douglas. 
To Hon. W. A. Richabdson, Cincinnati, 0. 

The reading of this dispatch was interrupted by frequent 
and tremendous applause. The other dispatches are as 
follows : 

Jv/ne 5, 1856, 9 a.m. 

Dear Sir : I have just read so much of the platform as relates to 

the Nebraska Bill and slavery question. The adoption of that noble 

resolution by a unanimous vote of all the States, accomplishes all the 

objects I had in view in permitting my name to be used before the 

convention. If agreeable to my friends, I would prefer exerting all 

my energies to elect a tried statesman on that platform to being the 

nominee myself. At all events do not let my name be used in such 

manner as to disturb the harmony of the party or endanger the sue 

cess of the work so nobly begun. S. A. Douglas. 

Hon. W. a. Richardson, of Illinois, 
Burnet House, Cineinnati, Ohio. 

Washington, Jwit hth — 9^ a.ii. 
Mr. Buchanan having received a majority of the convention, is, in 
my opinion, entitled to the nomination. I hope my friends will give 
effect to the voice of the majority of the party. 

S. A. Douglas. 
Boh. W. a. Richardson. 

(See "Washington Union," June 7th, 1856. ) 

Many of Mr. Douglas' warmest friends complained of him 
bitterly for having thus withheld his own name and secured 


the nomination of his rival, at the critical moment, when it 
became evident the latter could not possibly have been nomi- 
nated without the positive and efficient aid of the former ; 
and this withdrawal in favor of Mr. Buchanan, was afterwords 
used in some quarters as a point of objection to Mr. Douglas' 
nomination at Charleston. But the whole political course of 
Mr. Douglas, for a quarter of a century, had been in harmony 
with the sentiment enunciated and enforced in those de- 
spatches, that he felt " a thousand fold more interest in the 
success of the principles of the Democratic party than in hia 
own individual promotion." 

Immediately after the adjournment of the convention, Mr. 
Douglas entered the canvass with that energy and vigor for 
which he was remarkable, and it is but fair to add that to hia 
herculean efforts, in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and other 
States in the campaign of 56, was Mr. Buchanan indebted for 
iiis election, more than to any other man living or dead. 

When the election was secured, and the inauguration had 
taken place, Mr. Douglas had no personal favors to ask of the 
President for either himself or friends, and hence had no 
grievances to complain of or disappointments to resent. 
Before he left Washington for his home, it is well known that 
he was personally consulted by the President, and approved 
of the policy of his administration in regard to Kansas affairs, 
to be promulgated by Governor Walker in his message and 
address to the people of that Tei ritory, viz., that the consti- 
tution which was about to be formed at Lecompton should 
be submitted to and ratified by the people, at a fair election 
to be held for that purpose, before the State cou] d be admitted 
into the Union. 

Subsequently, when Governor Walker was on his way to 
Kansas, he called on Judge Douglas at Chicago by direction 
of the President, as he himself says, and read to him ^Inj 
inaugural address which he was to publish on his arrival in 


the Territory, in whicli the governor stated that he was 
authorized by the President and his cabmet to give the assur- 
ance that he and they would oppose the admission of Kansas 
Into the Union as a State under any constitution which was 
not first submitted to and ratified by the people. 

After copying his instructions from the President in favor 
©f the submission of the constitution to the people, Governor 
Walker added : "I repeat, then, as my clear conviction, that 
unless the convention submit the constitution to the vote of 
ail the actual resident settbrs of Kansas, and the election be 
fairly and justly conducted, the constitution will be and 
ought to be rejected by Congress." 

In this interview, Judge Douglas assured Governor Walker, 
as he had previously assured the President, that he might 
rely on his cordial and hearty cooperation in carrying out 
the policy that Kansas should not be forced into the Union 
with any constitution which had not been previously sub- 
mitted to and ratified by the people at a fair election regu- 
larly held for that purpose. 

A short time afterward, June 12th, 1857, Mr. Douglas 
made his celebrated Springfield speech, in which he warmly 
defended the administration of Mr. Buchanan, commended 
his territorial policy, and predicted for him a successful and 
brilliant administration. We have the best reasons for the 
assertion that his friendly relations with, and kind feelings 
toward Mr. Buchanan continued uninterrupted and undimin- 
ished until after their well-known interview in Vf ashington 
city, about the first of December of that year, npon the ques- 
tion of admitting Kansas into the Union under the Lecompton 
constitution, without submitting the constitution to the people 
for ratification or rejection. Mr. Douglas insisted that ht 
was bound in honor, good faith, and due regard for the fun- 
damental principles of all free government, to resist the mea- 
sure at every haaird and under all circumstances. Here we 


find the origin and sole cause of the disagreement between 
the President and Mr. Douglas, so far as the friends of the 
latter have ever been able to discover. The difficulty was 
not of Mr. Douglas' own seeking or procuremeut. He only 
claimed that so far as he was concerned it was his right and 
duty to carry out in good faith the policy to which he, Go- 
vernor Walker, the President, and every member of hia 
cabinet, stocd publicly and irrevocably pledged. The Presi- 
dent claimed that it was his right and duty, in a message to 
Congress, to recommend the admission of Kansas under the 
Lecompton constitution. Mr. Douglas did not question either 
the right or the duty of the President, provided "he thought 
the Lecompton constitution was the act and deed of the peo- 
ple of Kansas, and a fair embodiment of their will." While 
conceding to the President entire freedom of action according 
to his sense of duty, Mr. Douglas claimed the same privilege 
for himself, as a senator representing a sovereign State. 

The President, however, would tolerate no difference of 
opinion among friends on this question. Upon the tariff — 
upon specific and ad valorem duties — upon the Pacific Rail- 
road — upon the Homestead Bill — upon the Neutrality Laws 
— and, indeed, on any and every other question. Democratic 
senators and representatives, and cabinet officers, were at 
liberty to think and act as they pleased, without impairing 
their personal or political relations with the President. But 
on the Kansas question, having determined to abandon the 
principles and reverse the policy to which he had pledged 
the administration and the party, he regarded Mr. Douglas' 
refusal to follow him in his change of principles and policy as 
a serious reflection upon his own conduct. All freedom of 
judgment and action was denied. Implicit obedience to 
the behests of the President was demanded. The senator 
was required to obey the mandate of the Executive, instead 
of to represent the will of his constituency. The representa* 


tives of the States and of the people were required to sur. 
render their convictions, their judgments and their conscience! 
to the Executive, and to receive instructions from him instead 
of them. 

These were the terms and the only conditions upon which 
Mr. Douglas could preserve friendly relations with the Pre- 
sident. He met the issue with characteristic alacrity and 
boldness. He denounced the Lecompton constitution in 
firm but respectful terms, not because it provided for a slave 
State, but because it was not the act and deed of the people 
of Kansas, and did not reflect their will. 

Foreseeing the rent the agitation of this unfortunate 
question was likely to make in the Democratic party, and the 
irreparable damage to which it would be likely to lead, Mr. 
Douglas was anxious to heal the breach and settle the diffi- 
culty on any fair and just terms, that were consistent with 
fidelity to his own constituency, and to those principles of 
popular rights and self-government to which he was so 
solemnly pledged, and upon which he believed the peace and 
harmony of the country depended. He submitted various 
propositions in a spirit of conciliation and fraternal feeling 
for the pacification of the difiiculty. 

He proposed to refer the Lecompton constitution back to 
the people of Kansas, for their adoption or rejection, at a 
fair election, to be held in pursuance of law for that purpose, 
and if ratified by a majority of the legal votes cast at such 
election, Kansas was to be declared a State of the Union 
without further legislation. 

He proposed to pass an act of Congress authorizing the 
Territorial to call a new convention and form a 
constitution, and submit the same to the people for adoption 
at the polls, and if ratified at such election, Kansas should 
be received into the Union, with or without slavery, as such 
constitution should prescribe, as provided in the case of Mro- 


aesota, to which the President had referred as affording an 
example to be followed in all future cases of admission of new 

He offered to accept what is known as the " Crittenden^ 
Montgomery Amendment," as a satisfactory solution of the 
question, in harmony with the fundamental principles of 

And finally, he proposed a general law, which would not 
only settle the existing difficulty, but prevent all future con- 
troversies on the subject, providing that " neither Kansas nor 
any other Territory shall be admitted into the Union as a 
State, until it shall have been ascertained, by a legal census, 
to contain population requisite for a member of Congress, 
according to the existing ratio of representation for the time 
being ; and that the example of the Minnesota case shall be a 
rule of action in the future, as recommended in the Presi« 
dent's message." 

This proposition was offered substantially at a later period 
of the session in the House, by General Quitman, of Missis- 
sippi, who intended to have called it up in the event of the 
failure of the English bill. It would have been happy for 
the Democratic party and the country had it been accepted. 
Besides thoroughly uniting the party, it would have laid the 
foundation of a sound and healthy principle governing the 
admission of new States, and would have saved Congress 
from acting on the Kansas Wyandot constitution. 

These several propositions and all others for conciliation 
and harmony, were unceremoniously rejected by the partisans 
of the President, and the unconditional submission of the 
rebels demanded under the penalty of having all their friends 
removed from office and made victims of Executive ven- 
geance. The system of proscription and persecutidn which 
followed is too fresh in the public mind to require recapitu* 

88 tfiE LIFE AlfD SPEECflES OlP 

The wisdom and forecast evinced by Mr. Douglas iti 
opposing the admission of Kansas under the Lecorapton con- 
stitution, has been amply vindicated by succeeding events. 
The immense vote by which it was rejected when submitted 
under the temptations of the English bill — the subsequent 
. confession of actors in the fraudulent voting — the discovery 
of the bogus election returns — the statements of Governor 
Denver, and other well-authenticated facts and circumstances 
attest the correctness of Mr. Douglas' position ; while the 
declaration of Senator Hammond, who voted for the mea- 
sure, that " the constitution ought to have been kicked out 
of Congress," and the high repute which Governor Wise and 
other leading southern statesmen who opposed the project 
held in the respect and confidence of the Southern people, 
clearly indicate that their "sober second thought" did justice 
to the statesmanlike view which Mr. Douglas took of this 
unfortunate issue. 


Notwithstanding the ferocity with which the warfare was 
continued against Mr. Douglas and his friends during the 
Lecompton controversy, all fair-minded men took it for 
granted that hostilities would cease with the settlement of 
the question out of which the contest arose. Mr. Douglas 
and the Illinois Democracy seem to have entertained this 
reasonable expectation, as appears from the proceedings of 
the Illinois Democratic State Convention, which assembled at 
Springfield, on the 21st of April, 1858, for the nomination of 
candidates for State officers. While the resolutions were ex- 
plicit and firm in the assertion of the principles on which 
they had rejected the Lecompton constitution, they were 
conciliating in spirit and respectful in language. They con* 
tain no assault ©n the President, no attack upon the adminis 


tration, and indulge in no complaint at the unprovoked, and 
vindictive warfare which had been waged against them.. 
They maintain a dignified and manly silence, a generous 
forbearance on all these points, with a view to the preserva- 
tion of the organization, the usages, and the integrity of the 
Democratic party upon its time-honored principles, as enun- 
ciated in the Cincinnati Platform. The resolutions adopted 
by the Convention were introduced into the Senate by Mr. 
Douglas on the 25th of April, "as ruKNisHiNG the plat- 

They weve as follows : 

Colonel McClernand, from the committee to prepare solutions for the 
consideration of the convention, made the following report; which was 
read, and, on motion, each resolution was separately read and unanimously 

1. Resolved^ Tha^ the Democratic party of the State of Illinois, through 
their delegates in general convention assembled, do re-assert and declare 
the principles avowed by them as when, on former occasions, they have 
presented their candidates for popular suffrage. 

2. Ecsolved, That they are unalterably attached to, and will maintain 
inviolate, the principles declared by the national convention at Cincinnati 
in June, 1856. 

3. Hesolved, That they avow, v/ith renewed energy, their devotion to 
the Federal Union of the United Stales, their earnest desire to avert sec- 
tional strife, their determination to maintain the sovereignty of the States, 
and to protect every State, and the people thereof, in all their constitu 
tional rights. 

4. Resolved, That the platform of principles established by the national 
democratic convention at Cincinnati is the only authoritative exposition ot 
Democratic doctrine, and they deny the right of any power on earth, 
except a like body, to change or interpolate that platform, or to prescribe 
new or different tests ; that they will neither do it themselves nor permit it 
to be done by others, but will recognize all men as democrats who stand 
by and uphold Democratic principles. 

5. Resolved, That in '•.he organization of States the people have a righi 
to decide, at the polls, upon the character of their fundamental law, acd 


that the experience of the past year has conclusively demonstrated th« 
wisdom and propriety of the principle, that the fundamental law under 
frnich the Territory seeks admission into the Union should be submitted 
to the people of such Territory, for their ratification or rejection, at a fair 
election to be held for that purpose ; and that, before such Territory is 
admitted as a State, such fundamental law should receive a majority of the 
legal votes cast at such election; and they deny the right, and condemn 
the attempt, of any convention, called for the purpose of framing a con- 
stitution, to impose the instrument formed by them upon the people against 
their known will. 

6. Hesolved, That a fair application of these principles requires that 
the Lecompton constitution should be submitted to a direct vote of the 
actual inhabitants of Kansas, so that they may vote for or against that 
instrument, before Kansas shall be declared one of the States of this Union ; 
and until it shall be ratified by the people of Kansas, at a fair election 
held for that purpose, the Illinois Democracy are unalterably opposed tc 
the admission of Kansas under that constitution. 

v. Resolved, That we heartily approve and sustain the manly, firm, 
patriotic, and democratic position of S. A. Douglas, Isaac N. Morris, 
Thomas L. Harrie, Aaron Shaw, Robert Smith, and Samuel S. Marshall, 
the Democratic delegation of Illinois in Congress, upon the question of the 
admission of Kansas under the Lecompton constitution ; and that, by their 
firm and uncompromising devotion to Democratic principles, and to the 
cause of justice, right, truth, and the people, they have deserved our 
admiration, increased, if possible, our confidence in their integrity and 
patriotism, and merited our warm approbation, our sincere and hearty 
thanks, and shall receive our earnest support. 

8. Resolved, That in all things wherein the national administration 
sustain and carry out the principles of the Democratic party as expressed 
in the Cincinnati platform, and affirmed in these resolutions, it is entitled 
to, and will receive, our hearty support. 

By the adoption of the English bill a few days afterward, 
the Lecompton controversy was at an end so far as Congress 
was concerned. By that act the question was banished from 
the halls of Congress and remanded to the people of Kansas 
to be determined at an election to be held on the first Mon- 
day in August, 1858. 

In a speech in the Senate after the passage of th^ English 


bill, Mr. Douglas referred to the Lecompton controversy as 
at an end — a dead issue which should no longer distract and 
divide the Democratic party, in these words : 

But when ths bill became a law, the whole question was remanded to 
Kansas, to be decided at an election, which has been fixed for the first 
Monday in August. Whichever way the people of Kansas may decide the 
question at that election will be final and conclusive. If they reject the 
proposition submitted by Congress, the Lecompton constitution is dead, 
and there is an end of the controversy If, on the contrary, they accept 
the ' proposition,' Kansas, from that moment, becomes a State of the 
Union, and thus the controversy terminates. Whether they shall accept 
or reject the proposition is a question for the people of Kansas to decide 
for themselves, and with which neither Congress nor the people of the 
several States, nor any person, official or otherwise, outside of that Terri- 
tory, has any right to interfere. Hence, the Lecompton controversy is at 
an end ; for all men, of all parties, must be content with and abide bj 
whatever decision the people of Kansas may make. 


And again, in the same speech, Mr. Douglas said : 

Under these circumstances the question naturally arises, what con- 
troverted principle is there left for Democrats to differ and divide about ? 

In the first place, we all agree, not only Democrats, but men of all par- 
ties, that whatever decision the people of Kansas may make at the election 
on the first Monday in August must be final and conclusive. 

Now, if we can agree, as I have always avowed my willingness to do, 
to sustain President Buchanan's recommendation, that in all future cases 
the constitution shall be submitted to the people, as was required in the 
Minnesota case, all matters of dispute and controversy will be at an end 
and our Territorial policy will be firmly placed on a wise and just basis. 

Whatever justification or excuse may be urged for the war- 
fare upon Mr. Douglas and his friends during the Lecompton 
controversy, no patriotic reason can be assigned after the 
passage of the English bill and the adoption of th« magnani* 


mous and conciliating resolutions of the Illinois State conven 
tion, for forming a coalition in that State with the Abolition- 
ists to defeat the regular Democratic nominee for State offi- 
cers, members of the legislature, congressmen, and a United 
States senator, and filling their places with abolitionists, No 
other reason can be assigned for keeping up the warfare aftei* 
the question had been finally settled than an insatiable desire 
for revenge. No administration can be justified in dividing 
and destroying the party by which it was elevated to power 
upon the plea of resentment for real or imaginary grievances 
growing out of a past political issue. The coalition between 
the Republicans and the federal officeholders in Illinois, for 
the purpose of electing Mr. Lincoln to the Senate in the place 
of Mr. Douglas, by violating all the usages and bolting the 
regular nomination of the Democratic party, must form a 
dark page in the history of Mr. Buchanan's administration. 
Having been voted down and defeated by overwhelming ma- 
jorities in the regular organization in every county in the 
State for the election of delegates to the State convention, 
the federal officeholders called a new convention at Spring- 
field on the 9tli of June, 1858, and formed a separate ticket 
to be supported by the bolters, for the avowed purpose of 
defeating the regularly nominated ticket of the party, and 
Becuring the ascendency of Black Republicanism in Illinois 
by means of the division thus produced in the Democratic 

On the 15th of June, 1858, Mr. Douglas made a speech in 
the Senate, in which he exposed the combination between 
the federal officeholders and the Abolitionists in Illinois, and 
called the attention of the Democratic party in Congress, 
and of the whole country, to this unholy and unnatural alli- 
ance ; and also showing that the federal officials profes^sed 
to have the authority of the President and his cabinet for th* 
course they were pursuing. 



ur the 2d of February, 1858, President Buclianan trans* 
mitted to Congress a copy of the proposed constitution of 
iian .iiSj framed by the convention at Lecompton ; accompanied 
bjr a message from himself, from which we make the following 
remarkable extracts : 

The Kansas convention, thus lawfully constituted, proceeded to 
frame a constitution ; and having completed their work, finally ad- 
Ourned on the 7th day of November last. They did not think pro- 
per to submit the whole of this constitution to a popular vote ; but 
ihby did submit the question whether Kansas should be a free or a 
slave State to the people. No person thought of any other question. 
For my own part, when I instructed Governor Walker in genera] 
terms in favor of submitting the constitution to the people, 1 had no 
object ill view except the all-absorbing question of slavery. 

I then believed, and still believe, that under the organic act the 
Kansas convention were bound to submit this all-important question 
of slavery to the people. It was never, however, my opinion that, 
independently of this act, they would have been bound to submit any 
portion of the constitution to a popular vote in order to give it va- 

It has been solemnly adjudged, by the highest judicial tribunal 
known to our laws, that slavery exists in Kansas by virtue of the 
Constitution of the United States. Kansas is therefore, at this mo- 
ment, as much a slave State as Geo.rgia or South Carolina. Without 
this, the equality of the Sovereign States composing the Union, would 
be violated, and the use and enjoyment of a Territory acquired by 
the common treasure of all the States, would be closed against the 
people and the property of nearly half the members of tJie Confeder- 
acy. Slavery can, therefore, never be prohibited in Kansas, except 
by means of a constitutional provision, and in no other manner can 
this be obtained so promptly, if a majority of the people desire it, as 
by admitting it into the Union under its present constitution. 

On the other hand, should Congress reject the constitution, under 
the idea of affording the disaffected in Kansas a third o|)portunity 
of prohibiting slavery in the State, which they might have done 
twice before if in the majority, no man can foretell tlie consequences, 
(f Congress, for the sake of these men who refused to vote for dele- 
gates to the convention, when they might have excluded slavery 
from *he constitution, and who afterward refused to vote on the 21st 
December last, when they might, astVey claim, have stricken slaverj 
5oir the constitution, should now reject the State, because sla-^erj 


remains on the constitution, it is manifest that the agitation upon 
tiiis dangerous subject will be renewed in a more alarming form thar 
it has ever yet assumed. 


' Two days after the reception of this extraordinary message 
by Congress, Senator Douglas called on the President for 
more definite mformation regarding the facts to which the 
message alluded, as follows : 

Mr. Douglas — I desire to offer a resolution, calling for inforrta- 
tion which will hasten our action on the Kansas question. I will 
read it for information ; but if it gives rise to debate, of course it wiU 
go over : 

Resolved — That the President be requested to furnish all the itiformation 
within his possession or control on the following points : 

1. The return and votes for and against a convention at an election hsid in 
the Territory of Kansas, in October, 1856. 

2. The census and registration of votes in the Territory of Kansas, under the 
provisions of the act of the said legislature, passed in February, 1857, provid- 
ing for the election of delegates and assembling a convention to frame a con- 

3. The returns of an election held in said Territory on the 21st of December, 
1857, under the schedule of theLecompton constitution, upon the question oi 
"constitution with slavery" or "constitution without slavery." 

4. The returns of an election held in the Territory of Kansas on the 4th day 
of January, 1858, under the authority of a law passed by the legislature of said 
Territory, submitting the constitution formed by the Lecompton convention to 
a vote of the people for ratification or rejection. 

5. The returns of the election held in said Territory on the 4th day of Janu- 
ary, 1858, under the schedule of the Lecompton constitution, for Governor and 
other State ofiBcers, and for members of the legislature, specifying the names 
of each ofQcer to whom a certificate of election has been accorded, and the 
number of votes cast and counted for each candidate, and distinguishing be- 
tween the votes returned within the time and in the mode provided in said 
schedule, and those returned subsequently and in other modes, and stating 
whether at either of said elections any returns of votes were rejected in con- 
Bequence of not having been returned in time, or to the right officer, or in pro- 
per form, or for any other cause, stating specifically for what cause. 

6. All correspondence between any of the Executive departments and Se- 
cretary or Governor Denver relating to Kansas affairs, and which has not been 
communicated to the Senate. 

Resolved — That in the event all the information desired in the foregoing reso- 
lution is not now in the posset sion of the President, or of any of the Executive 
departments, he be respectfully requested to give the proper orders and take 
the necessary steps to procure the same for the use of the Senate. 

Me. Slidell objected, and the resolutions, under the rules, were 
laid over. 



The majority of the Committee on Territories being in 
favor of the admission of Kansas under the Lecom])ton con- 
Ktitution, submitted through Mr. Green a report to that 
effect. On the same day, February 18, 1858, Mr. Douglas 
submitted a Minority Report, which will be found in a subse- 
quent part of this work. 

This report is a most vigorous argument, showing that 
there was no evidence that the Lecompton constitution was 
the act of the people of Kansas, or that it embodied their 
wUl; that the right of admission accrued to a Territory only 
when they had sufficient population ; that the President and 
his cabinet had solemnly assured the people of Kansas that 
the constitution should be submitted to them for their free 
acceptance or rejection ; that the 60 delegates composing the 
Lecompton convention were chosen by 19 of the 38 counties 
of the Territory, while the other 18 comities were entirely 
disfranchised ; he tears away the thin veil that covered the 
designs of the members of the Lecompton convention, and 
shows that while knowing that an immense majority of the 
people of Kansas were opposed to the introduction of slavery 
I hey yet determined that they would form, a constitution sanc- 
lioning slavery, and submit it in such a form as to render it 
impossible for them to reject it; "that the election held in 
Kansas on the 21st of December, 1857, was not valid and 
bill ling on the people of the Territory, for the reason that it 
was not held in pursuance of any law ; that the election of 
January 4, 1858, was lawful and valid, having been fairly 
couduct-ed under a valid law of the Territorial legislature ; 
and that there was a majority of 10,000 votes against theL& 
tompton constitution. 



During the moLtli of March, 1858, the proposition to 
admit Kansas under the Lecompton constitution was warmly- 
debated in the Senate. On the 22d, Mr. Douglas made a 
speech which was one of the ablest efforts of his life, and 
will be read with interest and admiration, as long as a vestige 
of the political history of the Union exists. In this speech, 
after a rapid and brief review of his course in Congress, he 
shows that it was the chief merit of the Compromise mea- 
sures of 1850, tliat they provided a rule of action which 
should apply everywhere, north and south of 36° 30', not 
only to the territories we then had, but to all we might 
afterward acquire ; ar»d thus prevent all strife and agitation 
in future. He shows that the Lecompton constitution is not 
the act and deed of the people of Kansas, and does not 
emoody their will. In concluding, he alludes to the ap- 
proaching termination of his senatorial term, and to the 
efforts that the Executive would make to prevent his reelect 
tion. In tones that rang through the Senate chamber clear 
and sonorous as the blast of a trumpet, he gave utterance 
to these noble sentiments : 

" I do not recognize the right of the President to tell me my duty 
in the Senate chambei*. When the time comes that a Senator is to 
account to the Executive, and not to his State, what becomes of the 
severeignty of the States? Is it intended to brand every Democrat 
as a traitor who is opposed to the Lecompton constitution? Come 
what may, I intend to vote, speak, and act, according to my own 
'?ense of duty. I have no vindication to make of my court^e. Let 
it speak for itself. Neither the frowns of power nor the influence 
of patronage will change my action, or drive me from my principles. 
I stand immovably upon the principles of State Sovereignty, upon 
which the campaign was fought and the election won. I will stand 
by the Constitution of the United States, wit! all its compromises, 
and perform all my obligations under it. If I shall be driven into 
private life, it is a fate that has no terrors for me. I prefer privat" 


hte, preserving ray own self-respect, to abject and servile subraissioB 
to executive will. If the alternative be private life, or ser\ile obe- 
dience to executive will, I am prepared to retire. Official position 
has no charms for me, when deprived of freedom of thought and 

We give this great speech entire in a subsequent part of 
this work. It was delivered in the evening, the Senate 
chamber being brilliantly illuminated, and the galleries 
crowded, many ladies being admitted to seats on the floor of 
the Senate. 

On the next day, however, March 23, the bill admitting 
Kansas into the Union under the Lecompton constitution, 
passed the Senate by a vote of 33 to 25. Previous to taking 
this vote, Mr, Crittenden, of Kentucky, moved a substitute 
for the bill, to the effect that the Constitution be submitted 
to the people of Kansas at once ; and if approved, the State 
to be admitted by the President's proclamation. If rejected, 
the people to call a convention and frame a constitution to 
be submitted to the popular vote. Special provisions mado 
against frauds at elections. The substitute was lost — yeaa 
24, nays 34. 

On the first of April, the bill as passed was taken up in the 
House of Representatives, and Mr. Montgomery, of Penn^ 
sylvania, offered, as a substitue, the same one proposed by 
Mr. Crittenden. This was adopted in the House, ayes 120, 
nays, 112. 


The Senate refused to concur in this substitute, and a 
committee of conference was appointed by each House, who 
reported what has since been known as the English bill, 
which passed both Houses of Congress, and became a law. 
But in the debate in the Senate on the Crittenden-Mont- 
gomery amendment, Mr. Douglas spoke in its favor and 


against the English bill, and in the course of his reniarkf 
said : 

"I had hoped that the principle of self-government in the Territo- 
ries, the great principle of popular sovereignty which we all profesa 
to cherish, on which all our institutions are founded, would have 
been carried out in good faith in Kansas. I believe, sir, that if the 
amendment inserted by the House of Representatives be concurred 
in by the Senate to-day, and become the law of the land, the great 
principle of popular sovereignty, on which all our institutions rest, 
will receive a complete triumph, and there will be peace and quiet 
and fraternal feehng all over this country. 

" We are told that iliis vexed question ought to be settled ; that the 
country is exhausted with strife and controversy ; and that peace 
should be restored by the admission of Kansas. Sir. why not admit 
it? You can admit it in one hour, and restore peace to the country, 
if you will concur with with the House of Representatives in what 
is called the Crittenden amendment. This amendment provides that 
Kansas is admitted into the Union on the fundamental condition pre- 
cedent that the constitution be submitted to the people for ratification, 
and if assented to by them, it becomes their constitution ; if not 
assented to, they are to proceed to make one to suit themselves, and 
the President is to declare the result, and Kansas is to be in the Union 
without further legislation. Concur with tlie House of Representa- 
tives, and your action is final ; Kansas is in the Union, with the right 
to make her constitution to suit herself; and there is an end to the 
whole controversy." 

The English bill, as passed, will be found in a subsequent 
part of this work. 

On the 29th of April, Mr. L>ouglas again addressed the 
Senate on the same general subject, with more particular 
reference to the English bill, for the admission of Kansas, 
which had passed the House of Representatives. In this 
speech, he says : 

Mr. President : I have carefully examined the bill reported by the 
committee of conference as a substitute for the House amendment to 
tlie Senate bill for the admission of Kansas, with an anxious desire 
to find in it such provisions as would enable me to give it my sup- 
port. I had hoped that, after the disagreement of the two houses 
npon thie question, some plan, some form of bill, could have be«D 


agreed upon, which would harmcnize and quiet the countiy, ano 
reunite those who agree in principle and in political action on thia 
great question, so as to take it out of Congress. I am not able, in 
the hill which is now under consideration, to find that the principle 
for which I have contended is fairly carried out. The position, and 
ihe sole position, upon which I have stood in this whole controversy, 
has been that the people of Kansas, and of each other Territory, in 
forming a constitution for admission into the Union as a State 
should be left perfectly free to form and mold their domestic insti 
tutions and organic act in their own way, without coercion on the 
one side, or any improper or undue influence on-the other. 

The question now arises, is there such a submission of the Lecomp- 
ton constitution as brings it fairly within that principle ? In terms, 
the constitution is not submitted at all ; but yet we are told that it 
amounts to a submission, because there is a land grant attached to 
it, and they are permitted to vote for the land grant, or against the 
land grant ; and, if they accept the land grant, then they are required 
to take the constitution with it; and, if they reject the land grant, 
it shall be held and deemed a decision against coming into the Union 
under the Lecompton constitution. Hence it has been argued in one 
portion of the Union that this is a submission of the constitution, 
and in another portion that it is not. We are to be told that sub- 
mission is popular sovereignty in one section, and submission in 
another section is not popular sovereignty. 

Sir, I had hoped that when we came finally to adjust this question, 
we should have been able to employ language so clear, so unequi- 
vocal, that there would have been no room for doubt as to what waa 
meant and what the line of policy was to be in the future. Are 
these people left free to take or reject the Lecompton constitution ? 
It they accept the land grant they are compelled to take it. If they 
reject the land grant, they are out of the Union. Sir, I have no 
special objection to the land grant as it is. I think it is a fair one, 
and if they had put this further addition, that if they refused to come 
in under the Lecompton cx)nstitution with the land grant, they might 
proceed to form a new constitution, and that they should then have 
the same amount of lands, there would have been no bounty held 
out for coming in under the Lecompton constitution ; but when the 
law gives them the six million acres in the event they take this con- 
stitution, and does not indicate what they are to have in the event 
they reject it, and wait until they can form another, I submit the 
question whether there is not an inducement, a bounty held out to 
influence these people to vote for this Lecompton constitution ? 

It may be said that when they attain the ninety-three thousand 
population, or if they wait until after 1860, if they acquired the 
population required by the then ratio — which may be one hundred 
and ten thousand or one hundred and twenty thousand- -and form a 
constitution undei it, we shall give then the same amount of land 
khat is now given by this grant. That may be so, and may not b« 


BO. I believe it will be so ; and yet in the House bill, for which this 
is a Substitute, the provision was that they should have this same 
amount of land, whether they came in under the Lecompton consti- 
tution or whether they formed a new constitution. There was no 
doubt, no uncertainty left in regard to what were to be their rights 
under the land grant, whether they took the one constitution or the 
other. Hence that proposition was a fair submission, without any 
penalties on the one side, or any bounty or special favor or privilege 
on the other to influence their action. In this view of the ease, I 
am not able to arrive at the conclusion that this is a fair submission 
either of the question of the constitution itself, or of admission into 
the Union under the constitution and the proposition submitted by 
this bill. 

There is a further contingency. In the event that they reject this 
constitution, they are to stay out of the Union until they shall attain 
the requisite population for a member of Congress, according to the 
than ratio of representation in the other House. I have no objection 
to making it a general rule that Territories shall be kept out until 
they have the requisite population. I have proposed it over and 
over again. I am willing to agree to it and make it applicable to 
Kansas if you will make it a general rule. But, sir, it is one thing 
to adopt that rule as a general rule and adhere to it in all cases, and 
and it is a very different, and a very distinct thing, to provide that 
if they will take this constitution, which the people have shown that 
they abhor, they may come in with forty thousand people, but if 
they do not, they shall stay out until they get ninety thousand ; thus 
discriminating between the different character of institutions that 
may be formed. I submit the question whether it is not congres- 
sional intervention, when you provide that a Territory may come in 
with one kind of constitution with forty thousand, and with a dif- 
ferent kind of constitution, not until she gets ninety thousand, or one 
hundred and twenty thousand ? It is intervention with inducements 
to control the result. It is intervention with a bounty on the one 
side and a penalty on the other. I ask, are we prepared to construe 
the great principle of popular sovereignty in such a manner as will 
recognize the right of Congress to intervene and control the decision 
that the people may make on this question ? 

I do not think that this bill brings the question within that prin- 
ciple which I have held dear, and in defence of which I have stood 
here for the last five months, battling against the large majority of 
my political friends, and in defence of which I intend to stand as 
long as I have any association or connection with the politics of the 

Mr. President, I say now, as I am about to take Joave of this 
subject, that I never can consent to violate that great principle of 
State equality, of State sovereignty, of popular sovereignty, by any 
discrimination, either in the one direction or in the other. Mj 
position is taken. I know not what its consequence s will be pe' 


iwnally to me. I will not inquire what those consequences may he. 
If I cannot remain in public life, holding firmly, immovably, to the 
great principle of self-government and state equality, I shall go into 
private life, where I can preserve the respect of my own conscience 
under the conviction that I have done my duty and followed the 
principle wherever its logical consequences carried me. 


On the next day, however, April 30, the Senate passed the 
English bill. So far as the action of Congress was concerned, 
Kansas was admitted : that is, provided the people there 
chose to come in under the English bill. 

But they did not so choose. In order to give complete- 
ness to this view of affairs in Kansas, we will state, though in 
doing so we greatly anticipate the order of time, that when 
the election took place, under the provisions of the English 
bill, the people of Kansas indignantly rejected the proposi- 
tions of the bill, and at the election held on the 3d of August, 
1858, trampled the odious Lecompton constitution under 
their feet, by a majority of 10,000 votes. Soon after the 
election. Gov. Denver resigned, and Samuel Medary of Ohic 
was appointed governor. The Territorial legislature met in 
January, 1859, repealed many of the laws of the previous 
session, passed a new apportionment act; and an act referring 
to the people the question of a new constitutional convention, 
the election to be held March 21. The people decided for a 
constitutional convention by a majority of 3,881. The con- 
vention met at Wyandot, on the 5th of July, 1859, and 
adopted a constitution by a small majority, the minority pro- 
testing against its adoption. 


On the 29th of May, 1858, Mr. Douglas addressed the Senate, 
on the general subject of the recent British aggression on 


our ships, in a speech which made a most powerful impres- 
sion, not only on the Senate, but on the whole countiy. He 
ridiculed the idea of simply passing resolutions on the sub- 
ject; and urged the importance, nay, the necessity, of at 
once adopting such energetic measures . as should convince 
England that the time had come at last when this nation 
would no longer submit to her aggressions. He urged that 
the President of the United States should be clothed with 
power to punish instantly and effectually, all outrages on our 
flag, as soon as committed : " confer the power, and hold 
him responsible for its abuse." He showed that the Presi- 
dent of the United States was utterly powerless abroad, and 
that unless some such measures as he proposed should be 
adopted, the outrages of Great Britain would be contin- 
ued. He then proceeded to prove, from his own observation, 
that the coast of America was not defenceless ; that indeed, 
the coast of the United States is in a better condition of de- 
fence than that of Great Britain ; that New York was at this 
day better defended than London or Liverpool: and that 
it is easier for a hostile fleet to enter the harbor of either of 
those cities than the harbor of New York. 

*' While I am opposed to war," said Mr. Douglas, " while 
I have no idea of any breach of the peace with England, yet, 
I confess to you, sir, if war should come by her act, and not 
ours ; by her invasion of our rights, and our vindication of 
the same; I would administer to every citizen and every 
child Hannibal's oath of eternal hostility as long as the En- 
glish flag waved, or their government claimed a foot of land 
upon the American continent, or the adjacent islands. Sir, 
I would make it a war that would settle our disputes for- 
ever, not only of the right of search upon the seas, but the 
right to tread with a hostile foot upon the soil of the Ameri 
can continent or its appendages." 

The reader will find the whole of this elonuent and patri- 



Otic speecti, in a subsequent part of this work. It electrified 
the whole nation. Men breathed freer and easier when they 
read it ; and no one with a spark of American feeling in his 
breast failed to respond to the noble sentiments of the gal 
lant senate r from Illinois. 

I04t tTBPHEif A. DotratAi 


'ning the Campaign — Lays down Principles on uliieh he conducted it. 

Soon after Congress adjourned, in June, 1858, Mr. Douglas 
returned to Illinois to engage in his canvass for reelection to 
the Senate, and to vindicate the line of policy which he had 
felt it his duty to pursue. He arrived at Chicago on the 9th 
of July, and was welcomed by such a reception as no public 
man has ever received in this country. The newspapers of 
that city, of all shades of political opinions, agreed in repre- 
sentinof it as one of the most mas-nificeut orations on record. 
Many columns of their sheets were filled with descriptions of 
the arrangements for the reception, the vast concourse of 
people — estimated at 30,000 — the processions, illumination of 
houses, fireworks, banners, cannon, etc., etc., which greeted 
Mr. Douglas' return to his home. 

The great event of this imposing pageant, however, was 
the speech of Mr. Douglas, in reply to the address of wel- 
come. After an appropriate and feeling acknowledgment 
of the honor done him in this grand testimonial, he proceeded 
to a discussion of the principles involved in the great contro- 
versy in which he was engaged. As this was the opening 
speech of the canvass, and clearly defines the principles on 
which it was afterward conducted through a series of more 
than one hundred joint and separate debates, we shall make 
such copious extracts as may enable the reader to understand 
the points in issue in that memorable campai^';n. 



If there is any one principle dearer and more sacred tlian all others in 
free governments, it is that which asserts the exclusive right of a free pec- 
j>le to form and adopt their own fundamental law, and to manage and 
regulate their own internal affairs and domestic institutions. (ApplausjjBj 

When I found an effort being made, during the recent session of Con- 
gress, to force a constitution upon the people of Kansas against their will, 
and to force that State into the Union with a constitution which her people 
had rejected by more than 10,000 majority, I felt bound, as a man of 
honor and a representative of Illinois, bound by every consideration of 
duty, of fidelity, and of patriotism, t,o resist to the utmost of my power tht 
consummation of what I deemed fraud. (Cheers.) With others I did 
resist it, and resisted it successfully until the attempt was abandoned. 
(Great applause.) We forced them to refer that constitution back to tha 
people of Kansas, to be accepted or rejected, as they shall decide at an 
election, which is fixed for the first Monday of August next. It is true 
that the mode of reference and the form^of the submission was not such aa 
I could sanction with my vote, for the reason that it discriminated between 
free States and slave States ; providing that if Kansas consented to come 
in under the Lecompton constitution it should be received with a popula- 
tion of 35,000; but if she demanded another constitution, more consistent 
with the sentiments of her people and their feelings, that it should not be 
received into the Union until she had 93,420 inhabitants. (Cries of " hear, 
hear," and cheers.) I did not consider that mode of submission fair, for 
the reason that any election is a mockery which is not free — that any elec- 
tion is a fraud upon the rights of the people which holds out inducements 
for affirmative votes, and threatens penalties for negative votes. (Hear, 
hear.) But whilst I was not satisfied with the mode of submission, whilst 
I resisted it to the last, demanding a fair, a just, a free mode of submission, 
still, when the law passed placing it within the power of the people of 
Kansas at that election to reject the Lecompton constitution, and then 
make another in harmony with their principles and their opinions (Bravo, 
and applause), I did not believe that either the penalties on the one hand, 
or the inducements on the other, would prevail on that people to accepf a 
constitution to which they are irreconcilably opposed. (Cries of " glori- 
ous," and renewed applause.) All I can say is, that if their votes can be 
couiroUed by such considerations, all th3 sympathy which has be^h 

106 . 8TEPHENA. D0UGLA8. 

expended upon them has been aisplaced, and all the efforts that hare been 
made in defence of their right to self government have been made in an 
unworthy cause. (Cheers.) 



I will be entirely frank with you. My object was to secure the right 
of the people of each State and of each Territory, North or South, to de- 
«Ji^ the question for themselves, to have slavery or not, just as they 
choose ; and my opposition to the Lecompton constitution was not pre- 
dicated upon the ground that it was a pro-slavery Constitution (cheers), 
nor would my action have been different had it been a free-soil Constitu- 
tion. My speech against it was made on the 9th of December, while the 
vote on the slavery clause in that Constitution was not taken until the 2l8t 
of the same month, nearly two weeks after. I made my speech solely on 
the ground that it was a violation of the fundamental principles of free 
government ; on the ground that it was not the act and deed of the people 
of Kansas ; that it did not embody their will ; that they were averse to 
it ; and hence I denied the right of Congress to force it upon them, either 
as a free State or a slave State. (Bravo.) i deny the right of Congress 
to force a slaveholding State upon an unwilling people. (Cheers.) I 
deny their right to force a free State upon an unwilling people. (Cheers.) 
I deny their right to force a good thing upon a people who are unwilling 
to receive it. (Cries of " Good, good," and cheers.) The great principle 
is the right of every community to judge and decide for itself whether a 
thing is right or wrong, whether it would be good or evil for them to 
adopt it ; and the right of free action, the right of free thought, the right 
of free judgment upon the question is dearer to every true American than 
any other under a free government. My objection to the Lecompton con- 
trivance was that it undertook to put a constitution on the people of 
Kansas against their will, in opposition to their wishes, and thus violated 
the great principle upon which all our institutions rest. It is no answer to 
this argument to say that slavery is an evil, and hence should not be tole- 
rated. You must allow the people to decide for themselves whether it is 
a good or an evil. You allow them to decide for themselves whether they 
desire a Maine liquor law or not ; you allow thorn to decide for them- 
selves what kind of common schools they will have; what system of 
banking they will adopt, or whether they will adopt any at all; you allow 
them to decide for themselves the relations between husband and wife, 


parent aud child, and guardian and ward ; in fact, you allow them to de- 
cide for themselves all other questions, and why not upon this ques- 
tion? (Cheers.) Whenever you put a limitation upon the right of any 
people to decide what laws they want, you have destroyed the fundamep 
tal principle of self-government. (Cheers). 


The Republican convention which nominated Mr. Lincoln 
for United States senator in opposition to Mr. Douglas, was 
held in the city of Springfield, on the 15th of June, 1858. 
Immediately after Mr. Lincoln's unanimous nomination was 
announced, he read to the convention a carefully elaborated 
speech accepting the nomination which he had prepared in 
anticipation of that event, and which was published for cir- 
culation by order of the convention, as an authoritative ex- 
position of the principles of the Republican party. Mr. 
Douglas referring to this speech, said : 

Mr. Lincoln made a speech before that Republican convention which 
unanimously nominated him for the Senate — a speech evidently well pre- 
pared and carefully written — in which he states the basis upon which he 
proposes to carry on the campaign during this summer. In it he lays dowi 
two distinct propositions which I shall notice, and upon which I shall takf, 
a direct and bold issue with him. (Cries of "Good, good," and great 

His first and main proposition I will give in his own language, Scrip- 
ture quotation and all (laughter). I give his exact language : 

" In my opinion it [the slavery agitation] will not cease until a crisis shall 
have been reached and passed. ' A house divided against itself cannot stand.' 
{ believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. 
I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It 
will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will 
arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in 
the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will 
push forward till it shall become aUke lawful in all the States— old as well as 
new, North as well as South." 

In other words, Mr. Lincoln asserts as a fundamental principle of thit 
government, that there must be uniformity in the local laws and domestio 
institutions of each and all the States of the Uaion ; and he therefore io 


vitcs all the non-blaveholding States to band together, organize as on€ 
body, and make war upon slavery in Kentucky, upon slavery in Virginia, 
^pon slavery in the Carolinas, upon slavery in all the slaveholding States 
in this Union, and tc persevere in that war until it shall be exterminated. 
He then notified the slaveholding States to stand together as a unit and 
make an aggressive war upon the free States of this Union with a view of 
establishing slavery in them all ; of forcing it upon Illinois, of forcing it 
upon New York, upon New England, and upon every other free State, and 
that they shall keep up the warfare until it has been formally established 
in them all. In other words, Mr. Lincoln advocates boldly and clearly a 
war of sections, a war of the North against the South, of the free States 
against the slave States — a war of extermination — to be continued relent- 
lessly, until the one or the other shall be subdued and all the States shall 
cither become free or become slave. 

Now, my friends, I must say to you frankly, that I take bold, unqualified 
issue with him upon that principle. I assert that it is neither desirable 
nor possible that there should be uniformity in the local institutions and 
domestic regulations of the different States of this Union. The framera 
of our government never contemplated uniformity in its internal concerns. 
The fathers of the Revolution, an(l the sages who made the Constitution, 
well understood that the laws an<l domestic institutions which would suit 
the granite hills of New Hampshire, would be totally unfit for the rice 
plantations of South Carolina (cheers) ; they well understood that the iavva 
which would suit the agricultural distncta of Pennsylvania and New York, 
would be totally unfit for the large mining regions of the Pacific, or the 
lumber regions of ^aine. (Bravo.) They well understood that the great 
varieties of soil, of production, an J of interests, in a republic as large as 
this, required different local and domestic regulations in each locality, 
adapted to the wants and interests of each sepai-ate State (cries of 
" bravo" and "good,") and for that reason it was provided in the federal 
Constitution that the thirteen original States should remain sovereign and 
supreme within their own limits in regard to all that was local, aad inter- 
nal, and domestic, while the Federal Government should have certain speci- 
fied powers which were general and national, and could be exercised oulj 
by the federal authority. (Cheers). 



How could this uniformity be accomplished if it were desirable and 
possible ? There is but one mode in which it could be obtained, and that 
must be by abolishing the State legislatures, blotting out State sovereignty, 
merging the rights and sovereignty of the States in one consolidated 
empire, and vesting Congress with the plenary power to make all the police 
regulations, domestic and local laws, uniform throughout the limits of tb« 
Republic. When you shall have done this you will have uniformity. Then 
the States will all be slave or all be free ; then negroes will be free every- 
where or nowhere ; then you will have a Maine liquor law in every State 
or none ; then you will have uniformity in all things local and domestic 
by the authority of the Federal Government. But, when you attain that 
uniformity you will have converted these thirty-two sovereign, independent 
States into one consolidated empire, with the uniformity of disposition 
reigning triumphant throughout the length and breadth of the land. 
(" Hear," " hear," " bravo," and great applause.) 

From this view of the case, my friends, I am driven irresistibly to the 
conclusion that diversity, dissimilarity, variety in all our local and domestic 
institutions, is the great safeguard of our liberties ; and that the framera 
of OTir institutions were wise, sagacious, and patriotic when they made this 
government a confederation of sovereign States with a legislature for each, 
and conferred upon each legislature the power to make all local and do- 
mestic institutions to suit the people it represented, without interference 
from any other State or from the general Congress of the Union. If we 
expect to maintain our liberties we must preserve the rights and sovereignty 
of the States, we must maintain and carry out that great principle of self- 
government incorporated in the Compromise measures of 1850; indorsec 
by the Hlinois legislature in 1851 ; emphatically embodied and carried 
out in the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, and vindicated this year by the refusal to 
bring Kansas into the Union with a constitution distasteful to her people. 


The other proposition discussed by Mr. Lincoln in his speech consists in 
a crusade against the Supreme Court of the United States on account of 
tlie Dred Scott decision. On this question, also, I desire to say to you 


anequnocally, tiiat I take direct and distinct issue with him. I h<ive no 
warfiire to make on the Supreme Court of the United States (Bravo), 
either on account of that or any other decision which they have pro- 
nounced from that bench. ('■ Good, good," and enthusiastic applause.) 
The Constitution of the United States has provided that the powers of gov- 
ernment (and the constitution of each State has the same provision) shall 
be divided into three departments, executive, legislative and judicial. The 
light and the province of expounding the Constitution, and construing 
the law, is vested in the judiciary, established by the Constitution. As a 
lawyer, I feel at liberty to appear before the court and controvert any 
principle of law while the qaestion is pending before the tribunal ; but when 
the decision is made, my private opinion, your opinion, all other opinions 
must yield to the majesty of that authoritative adjudication. (Cries of " it is 
right," " good, good," and cheers.) I wish you to bear in mind that this in- 
volves a great principle, upon which our rights, and our liberty and our 
property all depend. What security have you for your property, for your 
reputation, and for your personal rights, if the courts are not upheld, and 
their decisions respected when once firmly rendered by the highest 
tribunal known to the Constitution ? (Cheers.) I do not choose, there- 
fore, to go into any argument with Mr. Lincoln in reviewing the various 
decisions whicl) the Supreme Court has made, either upon the Dred Scott 
case, or any other. 1 have no idea of appealing from the decision of the 
Supreme Court upon a ccnstitutional qu?stion to a tumultuous town-meet- 
ing. (Cheers.) I am aware that oucs sm eminent lawyer of this city, now 
no more, said that the State of Illinois had the most perfect judicial system 
in the world, subject to but one exception, which could be cured by a 
slight amendment, and that amendment was to so change the law as to 
allow an appeal from the decisions of the Supreme Court of Illinois, on all 
constitutional questions, to two justices of the peace. (Great laughter and 
applause.) My friend, Mr. Lincoln, who sits behind me, reminds me that 
that proposition was made when I was judge of the Supreme Court, Be 
that as it may, I do not think that fact adds any greater weight or 
authority to the suggestion. (Renewed laughter and applause.) It mat- 
ters not with me who was on the bench, whether Mr. Lincoln or myself, 
whether a Lockwood or a Smith, a Taney or a Marshall ; the decision of 
the highest tribunal known to the Constitution of the country must be final 
until it haa been reversed by an equally high authority. (Cries of "bravo" 
and applause.) Hence, I am opposed to this doctrine of Mr. Lincoln, by 
which he proposes to take an appeal from the decision of the Supreme 
Court of the United States upon these high constitutional questions to a 
Republican caucus. (A voice — " Call it Freesoil," and cheers.) Yes, or to 


»nv other caucus or town-meeting, whether it be Republican, American, of 
Democratic. (Cheers.) I respect the decisions of that august tribunal; I 
shall always bow in deference to them. I am a law-abiding man. I will 
sustain the Constitution of my country as our fathers have made it. I will 
yield obedience to the laws, whether I like them or not, as I find them on 
the statute book. I will sustain the judicial tribunals and constituted 
authorities in all matters within the pale of their jurisdiction, as defined by 
the Constitution. (Applause.) 


But I am equally free to say that the reason assigned by Mr. Lincoln for 
resisting the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case does not 
in itself meet my approbation. He objects to it because that decision de- 
clared that a negro descended from African parents who were brought 
here and sold aa slaves, is not, and cannot be, a citizen of the United 
States. He says it is wrong, because it deprives the negro of the benefits 
of that clause of the Constitution which says that citizens of one State 
shall enjoy all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several 
States ; in other words, he thinks it wrong because it deprives the negro 
of the privileges, immunities, and rights of citizenship, which pertain, ac- 
cording to that decision, only to the white man. I am free to say to yo" 
that in my opinion this government of ours is founded on the white basis. 
(Great applause.) It was made by the white man, for the benefit of the 
white man, to be administered by white men, in such a manner as they 
should determine. (Cheers.) It is also true that a negro, or any other 
man of an inferior race to a white man, should be permitted to enjoy, and 
humanity requires that he should have all the rights, privileges and immu- 
nities which he is capable of exercising consistent with the safety of society. 
I would give him every right and every privilege which his capacity would 
enable him to enjoy, consistent with the good of the society in which he 
lived. (" Bravo.") But you may ask me what are these rights and these 
privileges. My answer i« that each State must decide for itself the nature 
»nd extent of these rights. (" Hear, hear," and applause.) Illinois has 
'ecided for herself. We have decided that the negro shall not be a slave, 
and we have at the same time decided that he shall not vote, or serve on 
juries, or enjoy political privileges. I am content with that system of 
policy which we have adopted for ourselves. (Cheers.) I deny the right 
of any other State to complain of our policy in that respect, or to interfere 
with it, or to attempt to change it. On the other hand, the 9t»te of W^in* 

112 ' STEPHEN A. D0UGLA8. 

has decided, as she had a right to under the Dred Scott decision, thai in 
that State a negro may vote on an equality with the white man. The 
sovereign power of Maine had the right to prer>cribe that rule for herself. 
Illinois has no right to complain of Maine for conferring the right upon 
negro suffrage, nor has Maine any right to interfere with, or complain of, 
Illinois because she has denied negro suffrage, (•' That's so," and cheers) 
The State of New York has decided by her constitution that a negro may 
Tcte, provided that he owns $250 worth of property, but not otherwise. 
The rich negro can vote, but the poor one cannot. (Laughter.) Although 
that distinction does not commend itself to my judgment, yet I assert that 
the sovereign power of New York had aright to prescribe that form of the 
elective franchise. Kentucky, Virginia, and other States have provided 
that negroes, or a certain class of them in those States, shall be slaves, 
having neither civil nor political rights.- Without indorsing or condemning 
the wisdom of that decision, I assert that Virginia has the same power.^ by 
virtue of her sovereignty, to protect slavery within her limits as IlHnoishaa 
to banish it forever from our borders. (" Hear, hear," and applause.) I 
assert the right of each State to decide for itself on all these questions, and 
I do not subscribe to the doctrine of my friend, Mr. Lincoln, that 
uniformity is either desirable or possible. I do not acknowledge that the 
States must all be free or must all be slave. 

I do not acknowledge that the negro must have civil and political rights 
everywhere or nowhere. I do not acknowledge that the Chinese must 
have the same rights in California that we would confer upon him here. 
I do not acknowledge that the Coolie imported into this country must 
necessarily be put upon an equality with the white race. I do not ac- 
knowledge any of these doctrines of uniformity in the local and domestic 
regulations in the different States. (" Bravo,'" and cheers.) 

Tims you see, ray fellow-citizens, that the issues between Mr. Lincoln and 
myself, as respective candidates for the U. S Senate, as made up, are 
direct, unequivocal, and irreconcilable. He goes for uniformity ia our 
domestic institutions, for a war of sections, until one or the other shall be 
subdued. I go for the great principle of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, the 
right of the people to decide for themselves. (Senator Douglas was here 
interrupted by the wildest applause ; cheer after cheer rent the air ; the 
band struck up " Yankee Doodle ;" rockets and pieces of fireworks blazea 
forth ; and the enthusiasm was so intense and universal that it wa? some 
time before order could be restored and Mr. Douglas resume The scene 
at this period was glorious beyond descriptioi;.) 



My friends, you see that the issues are distinctly drawn. I stand by the 
same platform that I have so often proclaimed to you and to the people of 
Illinois heretofore. (Cries of " That's true," and applause.) I stand by the 
Democratic organization, yield obedience to its usages, and support its 
regular nominations. (Intense enthusiasm.) I indorse and approve the 
Cincinnati platform (renewed applause), and I adhere to and intend to 
carry out as part of that platform the great principle of self-government, 
which recognizes the right of the people in each State and Territory to 
decide for themselves their domestic institutions. {" Good, good," and 

In conclusion, he denounces the " unholy alliance :" 

Fellow-citizens, you now have before you the outlines of the propositions 
which I intend to discuss before the people of Illinois during the pending 
campaign. I have spoken without preparation, and in a very desultory 
manner, and may have omitted some points which I desired to discuss, 
and may have been less explicit on others than I could have wished. 1 
jave made up my mind to appeal to the people against the combination 
which has been made against me. (Enthusiastic applause.) The Republi- 
can leaders have formed an alliance, an unholy, unnatural alliance, with a 
portion of the federal officeholders. I intend to fight that allied army 
wherever I meet them. (Cheers.) I know they deny the alliance while 
avowing the common purpose ; but yet these men who are trying to divide 
the Democratic party for the purpose of electing a Republican senator m 
my place, are just as much the agents, the tools, the supporters of Mr. 
Lincoln as if they were avowed Republicans, and expect their reward for 
their services when the Republicans come into power. (Cries of " That is 
true," and cheers.) I shall deal with these allied forces just as the Rus- 
sians dealt with the allies at Scbastopol. The Russians when they fired a 
broadside at the common enemy did not stop to inquire whether it hit a 
Frenchman, an Englishman or a Turk, nor will I stop (laughter and great 
applause), nor shall I stop to inquire whether my blows hit the Republican 
leaders or their allies, who are holding the federal offices and yet acting iu 
concert with the Republicans to defeat the Democratic party and its nomi 
nees. (Cheers, and cries of " Bravo.") I do not include all of the federai 
oflSceholders in this remark. Such of then: as are Democrats and abow 


their Democracy by remaining inside of the Democratic organization and 
supporting its nominees, I recognize as Democrats, but those who, having 
been defeated inside of the organization, go outside and attempt to divide 
and destroy the party in concert with the Republican leaders, have ceased 
to be Democrats, and belong to the allied army whose avowed object is to 
eiect the RepubUcan ticket by dividing and destroying the Democratic 
party. (Cheers.) 

Immediately after his reception at Chicago, Mr. Douglas 
entered actively on his canvass over the entire State, making 
more than one hundred speeches in less than four months, 
and enduring an unparalleled amount of physical exertion 
and fatigue. History fails to cite any public man who ever 
received such continued ovations at the h^iids of his people 
as greeted Mr. Douglas aU through }Ja Illinois campaign. 
We make room for a letter which apj|>a£tred in one of the 
Chicago papers of the day, descriptive of his journey fi-om 
that city to Bloomington, to fill his first appointment, with 
the remark that the same demonstrations of popular (enthusi- 
asm and manifestations of popular admiration and love met 
Mr. Douglas everywhere through his canvass. The picture 
of the correspondent does but bare justice to the facts as 
they existed. 



Bloomington, -Mly 16, 1858. 
If there was- ever any doubt that Senator Douglas possessr<i the popular 
heart of the people of Illinois, that doubt has been dispelled to-day. Hia 
passage from Chicago to this place has been a perfect ovation. There was 
not a station or cottage that the train passed from which the»-e was not a 
greeting and a " God speed" sent forth ; and the evidences or popular feel- 
ing evinced in his favor are conclusive that the result in Novfrfiber will be 
one of the most glorious triumphs of the Democracy ever aciKvad i'* thij 


Senator Douglas, as you are aware, left Chicago in the 9 o'clocii train 
this morning, on the St. Louis, Alton and Chicago Railroad, to meet an 
appointment which he made at Springfield for to-morrow. The train which 
bore him was tastefully decorated with flags, the engine being almost hid 
beneath them, and banners were also displayed on the cars with the inscrip- 
tion " Stephen A. Douglas, the Champion of Popular Sovereignty." As 
the train passed along, the crowds who had assembled to give a parting 
cheer to the " Little Giant " performed their labor of love energetically and 
well. The train was soon out of Chicago and flying along the track ; and 
now Mr. Douglas, having a few moments to devote to those " on board," 
shook hands and exchanged compliments with a number of impatient pas* 
seugers who crowded around him, anxious to evince their respect and high 
admiration of the man. 

As the train swept through Bridgeport, the employees of the road sta- 
tioned there had assembled together, and .greeted Senator Douglas with 
three hearty cheers. 

A little incident occurred as we passed Bridgeport which is perhaps 
worthy of notice. One of the flags with which the train was decorated 
caught on the branches of a tree, and a gentleman seeing it, exclaimed, 
" See, Judge Douglas, there is one of your flags waving from that tree." 
" Yes,^' replied the Judge, " and before this campaign is over, my flags will 
be seen waving from every tree in the State." 

At every station on the road — at Brighton Course, Summit, Athens and 
Lockport — the people were out waiting an opportunity to testify their 
respect to their patriot senator ; and not a little interest was added to these 
demonstrations by the number of pretty girls and blooming matrons who 
took part in them, and testified by the waving of handkerchiefs and smiles 
of approval that there was one besides their lovers and husbands who had 
a place in their hearts. 

As the train approached Joliet, the shrill whistle of the engine to " break 
up " was answered by the roar of artillery from the town ; and when we 
reached the station, about 11 o'clock, we found some four or five hundred 
people awaiting us. The thimders of the guns were answered by the 
cheers of welcome by the crowd, who pressed around the cars anxious to 
get a ghmpse of Senator Douglas. There being a delay at this place of 
twenty minutes for dinner, the senator spent it in shaking hands with and 
receiving the congratulations of those who had assembled to see hire. 
The beaming countenances of the sturdy yeomanry, wliose faces were 
lighted up with joy at meeting the man whom they delighted to honor, 
showed that the heart felt what the mouth uttered. One fine l&oking 
specimen of human nature, whose strong, sturdy frame, and sunburn! 

116 STEPHEN A. DO U G L A 8 . 

health J eheek, bore testimony to his having spent the best part of his dait 
in the open air, exclaimed, after shaking hands with the senator, "Bj 
G— d, that did me good !" 

At Joliet, a platform car, decorated with thirteen flags, and bearing a 
twelve-pounder and gun-carriage, was hitched on to the train, and after 
we left that town, as we approached each station, " Popular Sovereignty," 
as the gun was called, gave lively notice that we were on hand. At El- 
wood, a crowd was awaiting us, and as the train passed through, cheer 
after cheer went up, whilst two or three individuals expressed their enthc- 
siasm by the discharge of their revolvers. 

As the train approached Wilmington, "Popular Sovereignty's" note was 
echoed by a piece of artillery in the town, and as we reached the station, 
we found the citizens, accompanied by a fine brass band, awaiting Senator 
Douglas. The cars had hardly stopped, when a gentleman, whose head 
was silvered o'er with age, jumped on the train, and seizing Senator Dou- 
glas by the hand, cried, " Welcome, Judge Douglas, welcome to Wilming- 
ton," and then three hearty cheers, such as only the farmers of the Prairie 
State can give, rose in the air, and the people crowded around to shak* 
Mr. Douglas by the hand. The train was delayed here several minutes, 
order to afford the people an opportunity of seeing their senator. 

At ail the otlier stations — Stewart's Grove, Gardner, Dwight, Odell, Cay 
uga, Pontiac, Rook Creek, Peoria Junction, Lexington, and Towanda, tlv 
people were out awaiting the train, and greeted Senator Douglas with lou''' 
hurrahs. At each of these stations large numbers got on board for Bloom 
ington. As we approached Bloomington, " Popular Sovereignty" gave 
notice that we were about, and his roar was answered by another of wel- 
come from the town. About 5,000 people had assembled here to meet 
Senator Douglas, and the whole town and surrounding country were pre- 
sent on horseback, in vehicles, and on foot, to welcome his arrival. Th« 
train was overrun with people who clambered on top of the cars, and tum- 
bled in on all sides, and the enthusiasm manifested was similar to that 
shown on his arrival at Chicago on Friday last. The thunders of the guns, 
the music of the band, and the shouts of the multitude filled the air. The 
scene can better be imagined than described. The crowd closed in around 
the cars in an impenetrable mass, and, taking possession of Senator Doug- 
las, they carried him over to the platform, where he received their per- 
Boaal welcomes. After some time spent in this manner, the senator was 
placed in an open carriage, provided by tlie Committee of Arrangements, 
and the escort, composed of the Bloomington Rifles, a cavalcade of horse- 
men, and citizens on foot, headed by the Bloomington brass baud, took 
up its march for the London House where rooms had been engaged bj 


the committee for their guest. Flags were displayed froir, the house, and 
Btrips of muslin ran along the balconies, bearing the inscription, " S. A. 
Douglas, the champion of Popular Sovereignty." Arriving at the house, 
the procession was dismissed, and after giving three times three cheers for 
Senator Douglas, gradually dispersed, to re-assemble at 7^ o'clock, p.m., 
in the court-house square, for the purpose of listening to his address. 

At 7 o'clock, the roar of the cannon, and the firing of rockets, the ring- 
of the court-house bell, and the music of the band attached to the Bloora- 
ington Guards, who attended the meeting in uniform, gave notice to the 
people to assemble; and in half an hour the large square surrounding the 
court-house was crowded with people, whilst Washington, Jefferson, and 
Madison streets were in the same condition ; and the windows and doors 
of the houses fronting the square were thronged with ladies and gentle- 
men. There were about 10,000 persons in attendance, and the committee 
of arrangements expected a much larger number, who were prevented 
from coming in from the country by the heavy rain which fell in this 
neighborhood all last night and to-day. The court-house was illuminated, 
and a stage was erected on the west side for the meeting. 

At about 8 o'clock, Allen Withers, Esq., chairman of the Committee of 
Arrangements, called the meeting to order. Dr. E. R. Roe, in a very elo- 
quent speech, welcomed Senator Douglas, and assured him, on behalf of 
the people of McLean County, that his course, during the last session of 
Congress, was fully approved by them, and that they were ready to show 
that approval, in a substantial manner, at the polls in November next. 


In the course of his speech at Bloomington, Mr. Douglas 
referred to the Compromise measures of 1850, and the in- 
structions of the Illinois legislature of 1851 to carry out the 
same principle of self-government in the organization of new 
Territories, as follows : 

Illinois stands proudly forward as a State which early took her position 
in favor of the principle of popular sovereignty, as applied to the Territo- 
ries of the United States. When the Compromise measures of 1850 passed, 
predicated upon that principle, you recollect the excitement which prevailed 
throughout the northern portion of this State. I vindicated those mea- 
sures then, and defended myself for having voted for them, upon the ground 


that they embodied the principle that CTery people ought to have th« 
privilege of forming and regulating their own institutions to suit them- 
Belves — that each State had that right, and I saw no reason why it shoula 
not be extended to the Territories. When the people of Illinois had an 
opportunity of passing judgment upon those measures, they indorsed 
them by a vote of their representatives in the legislature — sixty-one in 
the affirmative, and only four in the negative — in which they asserted that 
the principle embodied in the measures was the birthright of freemen, the 
gift of Heaven, a principle vindicated by our Revolutionary fathers, and 
that no limitation should ever be placed upon it, either in the organization 
of a Territorial government, or the admission of a State into the Union. 
That resolution still stands unrepealed on the journals of the legislature 
of Illinois. In obedience to it, and in exact conformity with the principle, 
I brought in the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, requiring that the people should 
be left perfectly free in the formation of their institutions, and in the or- 
ganization of their government. I now submit to you whether I have not 
.in good faith redeemed that pledge, that the people of Kansas should be 
!eft perfectly free to form and regulate their institutions to suit themselves. 
("You have," and cheers.) And yet, while no man can rise in any crowd 
and deny that I have been faithful to my principles, and redeemed my 
pledge, we find those who are struggling to crush and defeat me, for the 
very reason that I have been faithful in carrying out those measures. 
(" They can't do it," and great cheers.) We find the Republican leaders 
forming an alliance with professed Lecompton men to defeat every Demo- 
cratic nominee, and elect Republicans in their places, and aiding and de- 
fending them in order to help them break down Anti-Lecompton men 
whom they acknowledge did right in their opposition to LecomptOF 
(" They can't do it.") The only hope that Mr. Lincoln has of defeating m\ 
for the Senate rests in the fact that I was faithful to my principles, and 
that he may be able, in consequence of that fact, to form a coalition with 
. Lecompton men who wish to defeat me for that fidelity. (" They will 
never do it. Never in the State of Illinois" — and cheers.) 

He again refers to the coalition between the federal office- 
holders and the abolitionists, to break down the Democratic 

This is one element of strength upon which he relies to accomplish his 
object. He hopes he can secure the few men claiming to 'je friends of the 
Lecompton constituition, and for that reason you will find he does not say 
A word against the Lecompton constitution or its supporters. He is aa 


».ient as the grave upon that subject. Behold Mr. Lincoln courting Lecomi>- 
ton votes, n order that he may go to the Senate as the representative of 
Republican principles ! (Laughter.) You know that the alliance exists. 
I think you will find that it will ooze out before the contest is over. 
(" That's my opinion," and cheers.) 

Every Republican paper takes ground with ray Lecompton enemies, en- 
couraging them, stimulating them in their opposition to me, and styling 
my friends bolters from the Demooratic party, and their Lecompton allies 
the true Democratic party of the country. If they think that they can 
mislead and deceive the people of Illinois, or the Democracy of Illinois, by 
that sort of an unnatural and unholy alliance, I think they show very little 
sagacity, or give the people very little credit for intelligence. (" That's so," 
and cheers.) It must be a contest of principle. Either the radical aboli- 
tion principles of Mr. Lincoln must be maintained, or the strong, constitu- 
tional, national Democratic principles with which I am identified, must be 
carried out. 

There can be but two great political parties in this country. The contest 
this year and in 1860, must necessarily be between the Democracy and the 
Republicans, if we can judge from present indications. My whole life has 
been identified with the Democratic party. (Cheers.) I have devoted all my 
energies to advocating its principles, and sustaining its organization. la 
this State the party was never better united and more harmonious than at 
this time. (Cheers.) The State Convention which assembled on the 2d 
of April, and nominated Fondey and French, was regularly called by the 
State Central Committee, appointed by the previous State Convention for 
that purpose. The meetings in each county in the State for the appoint- 
ment of delegates to the convention, were regularly called by the county 
committees, and the proceedings in every county in the State, as well as 
in the State Convention, were regular in all respects. No convention was 
ever more harmonious in its action, or showed a more tolerant and just 
spirit toward brother Democrats. The leaders of the party there assem- 
bled declared their unalterable attachment to the time-honored principles 
and organization of the Democratic party, and to the Cincinnati platform. 
They declared that that platform was the only authoritative exposition of 
Democratic principles, and that it must so stand until changed by another 
National Convention ; that in the meantime they would make no new tests, 
and submit to none ; that they would proscribe no Democrat, nor permit the 
proscription of Democrats because of their opinions upon Lecomptonism, 
or upon any other issue which has arisen ; but would recognize all men as 
Democrats who remained inside of the organization, preserved the usagea 
of the party, and supported its nominees. (Great applause.) These bDlt* 

120 8Tt}PHEN A. DOtTGLAS. 

ing Democrats who now claim to be the peculiar friends of the national 
administration, and have formed an alliance with Mr. Lincoln and the Re- 
publicans, for the purpose of defeating the Democratic party, have ceased 
to claim fellowship with the Democratic organization, have entirely sepa- 
rated themselves from it, and are endeavoring to build up a faction \i the 
State, not with the hope or expectation of electing any one man who pro- 
fesses to be a Democrat, to office in any county in the State, but merely to 
Becure the defeat of the Democratic nominees, and the election of Repub- 
licans in their places. "What excuse can any honest Democrat have for 
abandofl^g the Democratic organization, and joining with the Republi- 
cans (-'None!") to defeat our nominees, in view of the platform estab- 
lished by the State Convention? They cannot pretend that they were pro- 
Bcribed because of their opinions upon Lecompton or any other question, 
for the Convention expressly declared that they recognize all as good De- 
mocrats who remained inside of the organization, and abided by the nomi- 
nations. If the question is settled, or is to be considered as finally dis- 
posed of by the vote on the 3d of August, what possible excuse can any 
good Democrat make for keeping up a division for the purpose of pro- 
Btrating his party, after that election is over, and the controversy has ter 


But I must now bestow a few words upon Mr. Lincoln's main objection 
to the Dred Scott decision. He is not going to submit to it. Not that he 
is going to make war upon it with force of arms. But he is going to appeal 
and reverse it in some way ; he cannot tell us how. I reckon not by a writ 
of error, because I do not know where he would prosecute that, except 
before an Abolition Society. ("That's it," and applause.) And when he 
appeals, he does not exactly tell us to whom he will appeal, except it be to 
the Republican party, and I have yet to learn that the Republican party, 
under the Constitution, has judicial powers ; but he is going to appeal from 
it and reverse it either by an act of Congress, or by turning out the judges, or 
in some other way. And why? Because he says that that decision deprives 
the negro of the benefit of that clause of the Constitution of the United States 
which entitles the citizens of each State to all the privileges and immuni 
ties of citizens of the several States. Well, it is very true that the decision 
does have that effect. By deciding that a negro is not a citizen, of course 
it denies to him the rights and privileges awarded to citizens of the United 
States. It i» this that Mr. Lincoln will not submit to. Why ? For the 
palpable reason that he wishes to confer upon tVe negro all the rigbt<t. 

THE LIFE AND 8 !» E E C H E S Ot 121 

privileges, and immunities of citizens of the several States. I ivill not 
quarrel with Mr. Lincoln for his views on that subject. I have no doubt 
that he is conscientious in them. I have not the slightest idea but that he 
conscientiously believes that a negro ought to enjoy and exercise all the 
fights and privileges given to white men ; but I do not agree with him, and 
hence I cannot concur with him. I believe that this government of oura 
waa formed on the white basis. (Prolonged cheering.) I beheve that it 
was established by white men— (applause)— by men of European birth and 
descended of European races, for the benefit of white men and their pos- 
terity in all time to come. (" Hear, hear.") I do not believe that it waa 
the design or intention of the signers of the Declaration of Independence 
or the framers of the Constitution to include negroes or other inferior 
races with white men as citizens. (Cheers.) Our fathers had at that day 
eeen the evil consequences of conferring civil and political rights upon the 
negro in the Spanish and French colonies on the American continent, and 
the adjacent islands. In Mexico, in Central America, in South America, 
and in the West India Islands, where the negro, and men of all colors and 
all races are put on an equality by law, the effect of political amalgamation 
can be seen. Ask any of those gallant young men in your own county, 
who who went to Mexico to fight the battles of their country, in what 
friend Lincoln considers an unjust and unholy vrar, and hear what they 
will tell you in regard to the amalgamation of races in that country. Amal- 
gamation there, first political, then social, has led to demoralization and 
degradation until it has reduced the people below the point of capacity for 
self-government. Our fathers knew what the eifect of it would be, and 
from the time they planted foot on the American continent, not only those 
who landed at Jamestown, but at Plymouth Rock and all other points on 
the coast, they pursued the poHcy of confining civil and political rights to 
the white race, and excluding the negro in all cases. Still Mr. Lincoln con* 
ecientiously believes that it is his duty to advocate negro citizenship. He 
wants to give the negro the privileges of citizenship. He quotes Scripture 
again, and says : " As your Father in Heaven is perfect, be ye also per- 
fect," and he applies that Scriptural quotation to all classes, not that he 
expects us all to be as perfect as our Master, but as nearly perfect as pos- 
sible. In other words, he is willing to give the negro an equali'ty under 
the law, in order that he may approach as near perfection or an equality 
with the white man as possible. To this same end he quotes the Declara- 
tion of Independence in these words : " We hold these truths to be self- 
evident that all men were created equal, and endowed by their Creator 
with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty., and ihe pnr- 
Buit e/ happiness," and goes on to argue that the negro wab Jiclud*d, or 


Intendeil to be included, in that declaration by the signers of the paper. 
He says that by the Declaration of Independence, therefore, all kinds of 
men, negroes included, were created equal, and endowed by their Creatof 
with certain inalienable rights, and further, that the right of the negro to 
be on an equality with the white man is a Divine right conferred by the 
Almighty, and rendered inalienable according to the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. Hence no human law or constitution can deprive the negro of 
that equality with the white man to which he is entitled by Divine law. 
("Higher law.") Yes, higher law. Now, I do not question Mr. Lincoln's 
sincerity on this point. He believes that the negro by the Divine law is 
created the equal of the white man, and that no human law can deprive 
him of that equality thus secured ; and he contends that the negro ought, 
therefore, to have all the rights and privileges of citizenship on an equality 
with the white man. In order to accomplish this, the first thing that would 
have to be done in this State would be to blot out of our State Constitution 
that clause which prohibits negroes from coming into this State and making 
it an African colony, and permit them to come and spread over these charm- 
ing prairies until in midday they shall look black as night. When our 
friend Lincoln gets all his colored brethren around him here, he will then 
raise them to perfection as fast as possible, and place them on an equality 
with the white man, first removing all legal restrictions, because they are 
our equals by Divine law and there should be no such restrictions. He 
wants them to vote. I am opposed to it. If they had a vote I reckon they 
would all vote for him in preference to me, entertaining the views I do. 
(Laughter.) But that matters not. The position he has taken on thia 
question not only presents him as claiming for them the right to vote, but 
their right, under the Divine law and the Declaration of Independence, to 
be elected to oflBce, to become members of the legislature, to go to Con- 
gress, and to become governors, or United States senators (laughter and 
cheers), or judges of the Supreme Court; and I suppose that when they 
control that court that they will probably reverse the Dred Scott decision. 
(Laughter.) He is going to bring negroes here, and give them the right 
of citizenship, the right of voting, the right of holding office and sitting or 
juries, and what else? Why, he would permit them to marry, would he 
not? and if he gives them that right, I suppose he will let them marry 
whom they please, provided they marry their equals. (Laughter.) If the 
Divine law declares that the white man is the equal of the negro woman; 
that they are on a perfect equality ; I suppose he admits the right of the 
negro woman to marry the white man. (Renewed laughter.) In other 
words, hip doctrine that the negro by Divine law is placed on a perfect 
«qiutlity with the white man, and that that equality is recogr ized by tho 


brjclaraiion of Independence, leads him necessarily to eitablisliing negro 
equality under the law; but whether even then they would be so in fact, 
would depend upon the degree of virtue and intelligence they possessed, 
and certain other qualities that are matters of taste rather than of law. 
(Laughter.) I do not understand Mr. Lincoln as saying that he expects to 
make them our equals socially, or by intelligence, nor, in fact, as citizens, 
but that he wishes to make them equal under the law, and then say to them 
"as your Master in Heaven is perfect, be ye also perfect." Well, I confess 
to you, my fellow-citizens, that I am utterly opposed to that system of 
abolition philosophy. (" So am I," and cheers.) 


In Kentucky they will not give a negro any political rights or any civil 
rights. I shall not argue the question whether Kentucky in so doing 
has decided right or wrong, wisely or unwisely. It is a question for 
Kentucky to decide for herself. I believe that the Kentuckians have 
consciences as well as ourselves ; they have as keen a perception of 
their religious, moral and social duties as we have, and I am willing that 
they shall decide this slavery question for themselves, and be accountable to 
their God for their action. It is not for me to arraign them for what they 
do. I will not judge them lest I shall be judged. Let Kentucky mind her 
own business, and take care of her negroes, and we attend to our own 
affairs, and take care of our negroes, and we will be the best of friends ; 
but if Kentucky attempts to interfere with us, or we with her, there will be 
strife, there will be discord, there will be relentless hatred, there will be 
everything but fraternal feeling and brotherly love. It is not necessary 
that you should enter Kentucky and interfere in that State, to use the 
language of Mr. Lincoln. It is just as offensive to interfere ftom this 
State, or send your missiles over there. I care not whether an enemy, if 
he is going to assault us, shall actually come into our State or come along 
the line and throw his bomb-shells over to explode in our midst. Suppose 
England should plant a battery on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, 
opposite Buffalo, and throw bomb-shells over, which would explode in 
Main street, in that city, and destroy the buildings, and that when we pro- 
tested, she should say, in the language of Mr. Lincoln, that she never 
dreamed of coming into the United States to interfere with us, and that 
she was just throwing her bombs over the hne from her own side, which 
Bhe had a right to do, would that explanation satisfy us ? (" No ;" " Strike 
him again.") So it is with Mr. Lincoln. He is not going into Kentucky 

124 STEPHEif A. DOUGtAg. 

out he will plan, tiis batteries on this side of the Ohio, where he jS saft 
and secure for a retreat, and will then throw his bomb-shells— his abolitioE 
documents — over the river, and will carry on a political warfare and get 
np strife between the North and South until he elects a sectional President, 
reduces the South to the condition of dependent colonies, raises the negro 
to an equality, and forces the South to submit to the doctrine that a house 
divided against itself cannot stand, that the Union divided into half slave 
States and half free cannot endure, that they must all be slave or they '{ 
must all be free, and that as we in the North are in the majority we will 
not permit them to be all slave, and, therefore, they in the South must 
consent to the States all being free. (Laughter.) Now, fellow-citizens, I 
fiubmit whether these doctrines are consistent with the peace and harmony | 
of this Union. (" No, no.") I submit to you, whether they are consistent i 
with our duty as citizens of a common confederacy ; whether they are 
consistent with the principles which ought to govern brethren of the same : 
family. I recognize all the people of these States, North and South, East i 
and West, old or new, Atlantic and Pacific, as our brethren, flesh of one J 
flesh, and I will do no act unto them that I would not be willing they ' 
should do unto us. I would apply the same Christian rule to the States of ' 
this Union that we are taught to apply to individuals, " do unto others as ■ 
you would have others do unto you," and this would secure peace. Why 
bhould this slavery agitation be kept up ? Does it benefit the white man 
or the slave ? Who does it benefit except the Republican politicians, who 
use it as their hobby to ride into office. (Cheers.) AVhy, I repeat, should 
it be continued ? Why cannot we be content to administer this govern- 
ment as it was made — a confederacy of sovereign and independent States. 
Let us recognize the sovereignty and independence of each State, refrain 
from interfering with the domestic institutions and regulations of other 
States, permit the Territories and new States to decide their institutions 
for themselves as we did when we were in their condition ; blot out these 
lines of North and South and resort back to those lines of State boundaries 
which the Constitution has marked out and engraved upon the face of 
the country ; have no other dividing lines but these and we will be one 
united, harmonious people, with fraternal feelings and no discord or dis- 
sension. (Cheers.) 

These are my views and these are the principles to which I have devoted 
all my energies since 1850, when I acted side by side with the immor- 
tal Clay and the godlike Webster in that memorable struggle in which 
Whigs and Democrats united upon a common platform of patriotism atd 
the Constitution, throwing aside partisan feelings in order to restore peace 
wid harmony to a distracted country. And when I stood beside the death 


bed of Mr. Clay and heard him refer with feelings and emotions of the 
deepest solicitude to the welfare of the country, and saw that he looked 
upon the principle embodied in the great Compromise measures of 1850, 
"the principle of the Nebraska Bill, the doctrine of leaving each State and 
Territory free to decide its institutions for itself, as the only means by 
which the peace of the country could be preserved, and the Union per- 
petuated, I pledged him, on that death-bed of his, that so long as I lived 
my edergies should be devoted to the vindication of that principle, and of 
his fame as connected with it. (" Hear, hear," and great enthusiasm.) I 
gave the same pledge to the great expounder of the Constitution, he who 
has been called the "godlike Webster." I looked up to Clay and him as 
a son would to a father, and I call upon the people of Ilhnois, and the 
people of the whole Union to bear testimony that never since the sod has 
been laid upon the graves of those eminent statesmen have I failed on any 
occasion to vindicate the principle with which the last great, crowning acta 
of their lives were identified, or to vindicate their names whenever they 
have been assailed ; and now my life and energy are devoted to this great 
work as the means of preserving this Union. (Cheers.) This Union can 
only be preserved by maintaining the fraternal feeling between the North 
and the South, the East and the West. If that good feeling can be pre- 
served the Union will be as perpetual as the fame of its great founders. It 
can be maintained by preserving the sovereignty of the States, the right of 
each State and each Territory to settle its domestic concerns for itself, and 
the duty of each to refrain from interfering with the other in any of its 
local or domestic institutions. Let that be done and the Union will be 
perpetual ; let that be done, and this republic, which began with thirteen 
States, and which now numbers thirty-two, which when it began only 
extended from the Atlantic to the Mississippi but now reaches to the 
Pacific, may yet expand North and South until it covers the whole conti- 
nent and becomes one vast ocean-bound confederacy. (Great cheering.) 
Then, my friends, the path of duty, of honor, of patriotism is plain. 
There are a few simple principles to be preserved. Bear in mind the 
dividing line between State rights and federal authority ; let us maintain 
the great principles of popular sovereignty, of State rights, and of the 
Federal Union as the Constitution has made it, and this republic wilj 
endure forever. 


In the course of Mr. Douglas' speech at Edwardsville, cii 
the 6th of August, an old Democrat sprang to his feet and 


exclaimed, " These are the principles of all us Dougld* DtOtO- 
crats !" To which Mr. Douglas replied : 

My friead — you will pardon me for telling you that there is no such 
term in the Democratic vocabulary as Douglas Democrats. Let there be no 
divisions in our ranks — no such distinction as Douglas Democrats, or 
Buchanan Democrats, or any other peculiar kind of Democrats. Let us 
retain the old name of Democrat, and under that name recognize all men 
&8 good Democrats who stand firmly by the principles and organization of 
the party, and support its regular nominations. Let us have no divisions in 
our ranks on account of past differences, but treatiug bygones as bygones 
let the party be a unit in the accomplishment of the-great mission which it 
has to perform. 

This sentiment was received with rapturous applause. 


At Winchester, where he settled when he first emigrated 
to Illinois, in 1833, he responded to the address of welcome, 

To say that I am profoundly impressed -with, the keenest gratitude for 
the kind and cordial welcome you have given me, in the eloquent and too 
partial remarks which have been addressed to me, is but a feeble expres- 
sion of the emotions of my heart. There is no spot in this vast globe 
which fills me with such emotions as when I come to this place, and recog- 
nize the faces of my old and good friends who now surround me and bid 
me welcome. Twenty-five years ago I entered this town on foot, with my 
coat upon my arm, without an acquaintance in a thousand miles, and with- 
out knowing where I could get money to pay a week's board. Here I 
made the first six dollars I ever earned in my life, and obtained the first 
regular occupation that I ever pursued. For the first time in my life J 
then felt that the responsibilities of manhood were upon me, although 1 
was under age, for I had none to advise with, and knew no one upon 
whom I had a right to call for assistance or for friendship. Here I found 
the then settlers of the country my friends — my first start in life wa's taken 
here, not only as a private citizen, but my first election to public office by 
the people was conferred upon me by those whom I am now addressing, 
Mid by their fathers. A quarter of a century has passer , and that pen> 


oiless boy stands before you, with his heart full and gushing with the sen 
timents which such associations and recollections necessarily inspire. 

In the midst of that portion of his speech, in which he 
was vindicating the doctrine of popular sovereignty, applica- 
ble to the Territories, one of his early friends exclaimed, in a 
loud voice, "Stephen, you shall be the next President;" to 
which Mr. Douglas instantly replied : 

My friend, I appreciate the kindness of heart which makes you put forth 
that prediction, but will assure you that it is more important to this coun- 
try, to your children and to mine, that the grea*! principles which we are 
now discussing shall be carried out in good faith by the party, than it is 
that I or any other man shall be President of the United States. (Three 
cheers.) I am also free to say to you that whenever the question arises 
with me whether I shall be elevated to the Presidency or any other high 
position, by the sacrifice of my principles, I will stand by my principles 
and allow the position to take care of itself, (Three cheers.) I havo 
always admired that great sentiment put forth by the illustrious Clay, that 
he would rather be right than be President. ("Good.") I say to you that 
] have more pride in my history connected with the vindication of this 
great principle of popular sovereignty than I would have in a thousand 
Presidencies. (Three cheers.) 

Mr. Douglas, again advocating that " by-gones be by- 
gones," when Kansas rejected the English bill, said, in a 
ppeech at Pittsfield : 

By the rejection of the Lecompton constitution the controversy which 
it caused is terminated forever, and there will be no cause for reviving it, 
and it never will be revived unless it is brought up in an improper and 
mischievous manner, for improper and mischievous purposes. I say that 
the controversy can never rise again if we act properly, and for this rea- 
son: the President of the United States, in his annual message, declared 
that he regretted that the Lecompton constitution bad not been submitted 
to the people. I joined him in that regret, and thus far we agreed. He 
further declared in that message, that it was a just and sound principle to 
require the submission of every constitution to the people who were to 
live under it, and to this I also subscribed. He then declared that, in hia 
opinion, the example- eet in the Minnesota case, wherein Cocgreas required 


the submission of the constitution to the people, should be followed fiere- 
after forever as a rule of action ; in which opinion I heartily concurred. 
So far we agreed perfectly, and were together. Well, then, what did we 
differ about ? He said that while it was a sound principle that the consti« 
tution should be submitted to the people, ani while he hoped that here- 
after Congress would always require it to be done, yet that there were such 
circumstances connected with Kansas as rendered it politic and expedient 
to admit her unconditionally under the Lecompton constitution. I differed 
with him on that one point, and it was the whole matter at issue between 
him and me, his friends and mine. That point is now deemed. The peo- 
ple of Kansas have set it at rest forever, and I trust that he is satisfied 
with their decision as well as myself. That being the case, why should we 
not come together in the future and stand firmly by his recommendation — 
that hereafter Congress shall, as in the Minnesota case, require the consti- 
tution of all new States to be submitted to the people in all cases ? If we 
only do stand by that principle in the future, another Lecompton contro- 
Fersy can never arise — the friends of self-government will then all be 
united, and there will be no more discord or dissensions in our ranks. 
Why not rally on that plank as the common plank in the platform of our 
party, upon which not only 'all Democrats, but all national men, all friends 
of popular sovereignty, can stand together, shoulder to shoulder. 


In the joint debate at Freeport, Mr. Lincoln propounded 
to Mr. Douglas a series of questions, and among them was 
the following, to which he desired an explicit reply : 

" Can the people of a Territory of the United States in 
any lawful way, against the wishes of any citizen of the 
United States, exclude slavery from its limits prior to the 
formation of a State constitution ?" 

To this question Mr. Douglas gave an affirmative reply, in 
accordance with the opinions which he had so often ex- 
pressed, in 1850, during the pendency of the Compromise 
measures, and in 1854, in support of the Kansas-Nebraska 
Bill, and in harmony with the known opinions of the most 
eminent men of the Democratic party, and esppcially of 


General Cass, in his Nicholson letter, and of Mr. Buchanan, 
m his letter accepting the Cincinnati nomination. 

It being a joint debate, in which his time was limited, and 
having a large number of other questions to answer, Mr. 
Douglas contented himself with a direct and unequivocal 
answer, without entering into any argument in support of the 
propositions. His reply, as published in the unrevised 
report of the debate, is as follows : 

The next question propounded to me by 'Mr. Lincoln is, can the people 
of a Territory in any lawful way against the wishes of any citizen of the 
United States, exclude slavery from their limits prior to the formation of 
a State constitution? I answer emphatically, as Mr. Lincoln has heard 
me answer a hundred times from every stump in Illinois, that io my opinion 
the people of a Territory can, by lawful means, exclude slavery from their 
limits prior to the formation of a State constitution. (Enthusiastic ap- 
plause.) Mr. Lincoln knew that I had answered that question over and 
over again. He heard me argue the Nebraska Bill on that principle all 
over the State in 1854, in 1855 and in 1856, and he has no excuse for pre 
tending to be in doubt as to my position on that question. It matters not 
what way the Supreme Court may hereafter decide as to the abstract que* 
tion whether slavery may or may not go into a Territory under the consti- 
tution ; the people have the lawful means to introduce it or exclude it ag 
they please, for the reason that slavery cannot exist a day or an hour any- 
where, unless it is supported by local police regulations. (Right, right.) 
Those police regulations can only be established by the local legislature, 
and if the people are opposed to slavery they will elect representatives to 
that body who will by unfriendly legislation effectually prevent the intro- 
duction of it into their midst. If, on the contrary, they are for it, theit 
legislation will favor its extension. Hence, no matter what the decision 
of the Supreme Court may be on that abstract question, still the right of 
the people to make a slave Territory or a free Territory is perfect and com- 
plete under the Nebraska Bill. I hope Mr. Lincoln deems my answer satis- 
factory on that point. 


And now this warfare is made on me because I would not surrender mj 
jonvictions of duty, because I would not abandon my constituency, and re 
ceive the orders of the Executive authorities how I should vote in ♦ha 


Senate of the United States. (" Never do it," three eh«ers, etc.) T hola 
that an attempt to control the Senate on the part of the Executive ia sub- 
rersive of the principles of our Constitution. ("That's right.") The 
Executive department is independent of the Senate, and the Senate is in 
dependent of the President. In matters of legislation the President has a 
veto on the action of the Senate, and in appointments and treaties the 
Senate has a veto on the President. He has no more right to tell me how 
I ghall vote oa his appointments, than I have to tell him whether he shall 
veto or approve a bill that the Senate has passed. Whenever you recog- 
nize the right of the Executive to say to a senator, " Do this, or I will take 
off the heads of your friends," you convert this government from a 
republic into a despotism. (Hear, hear, and cheers.) Whenever you 
recognize the right of a President to say to a member of Congress, " Vote 
as I tell you, or I will bring a power to bear against you at home which 
will crush you," you destroy the independence of the representative, and 
convert him into a tool of Executive power. (" That's so," and applause.) 
I resisted this invasion of the constitutional rights of a senator, and 1 
intend to resist it as long as I have a voice to speak, or a vote to give. 
Yet, Mr. Buchanan cannot provoke me to abandon one iota of Democratic 
principles out of revenge or hostility to his course. (" Good, good, and 
three cheers for Douglas.") I stand by the platform of the Democratia 
party, and by its organization, and support its nominees. If there are 
any who choose to bolt, the fact only shows that they are not as good 
Democrats as I am, (" That's so," *' good," and applause.) 


My friends, there never was a time when it was as important for the 
Democratic party, for all national men, to rally and stand together as it is 
to-day. We find all sectional men giving up past differences and com* 
bining on the one question of slavery ; and when we find sectional men 
thus uniting, we should unite to resist them and their treasonable designs. 
Such was the case in 1850, when Clay left the quiet and peace of his home 
and again entered upon public life to quell agitation and restore peace to a 
distracted Union. Then we Democrats, with Cass at our head, irelcomed 
Henry Clay, whom the whole nation regarded as having been preserved by 
God for the times. He became our leader in that great fight, and we 
rallied around him the same as the Whigs rallit-d around old Hickory 
in 1832, to put down nullification. (Cheers.) Thus you see tha« 


vliHst Whig8 and Democrats fought fearlessly in old times abou» 
banks, the tarifiF distribution, the specie circular, and the sub-treasury, 
all united as a band of brothers when the peace, harmony, or integ- 
rity of the Union was imperilled. (Tremendous applause.) It was so 
in 1850, when abolitionism had even so far divided this country, North and 
South, as to endanger the peace of the Union ; Whigs and Democrats 
united in establishing the Compromise measures of that year, and restoring 
tranquillity and good feeling. These measures passed on the joint action 
of the two parties. They rested on the great principle that the people of 
each State and each Territory should be left perfectly free to form and 
regulate their domestic institutions to suit themselves. You Whigs and 
we Democrats justified thetn on that principle. In 1854, when it became 
necessary to organize the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, I brought 
forward a bill for the purpose on the same principle. In the Kansas- 
Nebraska Bill you find it declared to be the true intent and meaning of the 
act not to legislate slavery into any State or Territory, nor to exclude it 
therefrom ; but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and 
regulate their domestic institutions in their own way. (" That's so," and 
cheers.) I stand on that same platform in 1858 that I did in 1850, in 
1854 and 1856. 

The Washington " Union," pretending to be the organ of the administra- 
tion, in the number of the 5th of this month, devotes three columns and a 
half to establish these propositions : First, that Douglas, in his Freepoit 
speech, beld the same doctrine that he did in his Nebraska Bill in 1854 ; 
second, that in 1854 Douglas justified the Nebraska Bill, upon the ground 
that it was based upon the same principle as Clay's Compromise measures 
of 1850. The " Union " thus proved that Douglas was the same in 1858 
that he was in 1856, in 1854 and in 1850, consequently argued that he was 
never a Democrat. (Great laughter.) Is it not funny that I was never a 
Democrat? (Renewed laughter.) There is no pretence that I have changed 
a hair's breadth. The " Union " proves, by my speeches, that I explained 
the Compromise measures of 1850 just as I do now, and that I explained 
the Kansas and Nebraska Bill in 1854 just as I did in my Freeport speech, 
and yet says that I am not a Democrat, and cannot be trusted, because I 
have not changed during the whole of that time. It has occurred to me 
that in 1854 the author of the Kansas and Nebraska Bill was considered u 
pretty good Democrat. (Cheers.) It has occurred to me that in 1856, 
when I was exerting every nerve and every energy for James Buchanan, 
standing on the same platform then that I do now, that I was a pretty 
l^ood Democrat. CReuewed applause.) Tbej uow tell me that I am not • 


Democrat, because I assert that the people of a Territory, as well as those 
of a State, have the right to decide for themselves whether slavery can or 
cannot exist in such Territory. Let me read what James Buchanan said on 
that point when he accepted the Democratic nomination for th(^ Presidency 
in 1856. In his letter of acceptance, he used the following laLguage: 

" The recent legislation of Congress respecting domestic slavery, derived, as it has 
oeen, from the original and pure fountain of legitimate political power, the will of the 
majority, promise ere long to allay the dangerous excitement. This legislation is 
founded upon principles as ancient as free government itself, and in accordance with 
(hem, has simply declared that the people of a Territory, Uke those of a State, shall de- 
cide for themselves whether slavery shall or shall not exist within their limits." 

Dr. Hope will there find my answer to the question :e propounded to 
me before I commenced speaking. (Vociferous shouts of applause.) Of 
course no man will consider it an answer who is outside of the Democratic 
organization, bolts Democratic nominations, and indirectly aids to put 
Abolitionists into power over Democrats. But whether Dr. Hope con- 
siders it an answer or not, every fair-minded man will see that Jamca 
Buchanan has answered the question, and has asserted that the people of 
a Territory, like those of a State, -shall decide for themselves whether sla- 
very shall or shall not exist within their limits. I answer specifically, if 
you want a further answer, and say, that while under the decision of tho 
Supreme Court, as recorded in the opinion of Chief Justice Taney, slaves 
are property like all other property, and can be carried into a Territory of 
the United States the same as any other description of property ; yet, when 
you get them there, they are subject to the local law of the Territory just 
like all other property. You will find in a recent speech, delivered by that 
able and eloquent statesman, Hon. Jefferson Davis, at Portland, Maine, that 
he took the same view of this subject that I did in my Preeport speech 
He there said : 

*• If the inhabitants of any Territory should refuse to enact such laws and police rega- 
lations as would give security to their property or to his, it would be rendered more or 
less valueless, in proportion to the diflBculties of holding it without such protection. In 
the case of property in the labor of man, or what is usually called slave property, the 
insecurity would be so great that the owner could not ordinarily retain it. Therefore, 
though the right would remain, the remedy being withheld, it would follow that tha 
owner would be practically debarred, by the circumstances of the case, from taking 
ria-ve property into a Territory where the sense of the inhabitants was opposed to ita 
Introduction. So much for the oft-rei>ea4ed fallacy of forcing slavery upon any coiu- 

You will also find that the distinguished speaker of the present House 
of Representatives, Hon. James L. Orr, construed the Kansas and Ne« 


braeka Bil' in this same way in 1856, and also that that gi cat intellect of 
the South. Alex. H. Stevens, put the same construction upon it in Con- 
gress that I did in my Freeport speech. The whole South are rallying to 
the support of the doctrine that, if the people of a Territory want slavery 
they have a right to have it ; and if they do not want it, that no power on 
earth can force it upon them. I hold that there is no principle on earth 
more sacred to all the friends of freedom than that which says that no in- 
stitution, no law, no constitution, should be forced on an unwilling people 
contrary to their wishes ; and I assert that the Kansas and Nebraska Bill 
contains that principle. It is the great principle contained in thai kIII. It 
is the principle on which James Buchanan vras made President. Without 
that principle he never would have been made President of the United 
States. I will never violate or abandon that doctrine if I have to stand 
alone. (Hurrah for Douglas.) I have resisted the blandishments and 
threats of power on the one side, and seduction on the other, and have 
stood immovably for that principle, fighting for it when assailed by 
northern mobs, or threatened by southern hostility. (" That's the truth,'* 
and cheers.) I have defended it against the North and the South, and I 
will defend it against whoever assails it, and I will follow it wherever its 
logical conclusions lead me. (" So will we all," " hurrah for Douglas.") I 
say to you that there Is but one hope, one safety for this country, and that 
is to stand immovably by that principle which declares the right of each 
State and each Territory to decide these questions for themselves. (Hear 
him hear him.) This government was founded on that principle, and 
must be administered in the same sense in which it was founded. 

The Democracy of Illinois determined at the opening of 
their campaign, in view of their relations toward the admiicis- 
tration, to invite no speakers from abroad to participate in 
the labor of their canvass. In the event of any gentlemen 
volunteering their services, they would be most gratefully 
accepted. A few exceptions, however, were made to this 
rule, at the suggestion of friends in other States. Private 
ktters had been received by numerous gentlemen in tho 
State, to the effect that Vice-President Breckinridge warmly 
sympathized with the Illinois Democracy in their fierce strug- 
gle with their confederated enemy, and that his feelings were 
painfully exercised by the imminent dangers that onvii 3ned 


the prospects of Mr. Douglas' reelection to the Senate. In- 
deed, it was suggested that the Vice-President had expressed 
a desire to lend the weight of his great talents and exertions 
in the good cause ; and, if invited, would cheerfully engage 
in the canvass, as he had done before when himself a candi- 
date in the contest of 1856. Accordingly, invitations were 
sent to Mr. Breckinridge, and Governor Wise of Virginia, 
who, it was understood, warmly sympathized with Judge 
Douglas in his struggle, as he had done through his whole 
anti-Lecompton course in Congress ; to which invitations these 
gentlemen sent characteristic replies, which we think of suf- 
ficient importance to here insert. 


Versailles, Ky., Oct. 4, 1868. 

Dear Sir : I received this morning your letters of the 28th and 29th 
ult., written as chairman of the Democratic State Committee of Illinois, 
also one of Mr. Y. Hickox, who informs me that he is a member of the 
same committee. My absence from home will account for the delay of 
this answer. 

In these letters it is said that I am reported to have expressed a desire 
that Mr. Douglas shall defeat Mr. Lincoln in their contest for a seat in the 
Senate of the United States, and a willingness to visit Illinois and make 
public speeches in aid of such result ; and if these reports are true, I am 
invited to deliver addresses at certain points in the State. 

The rumor of my readiness to visit Illinois and address the people in the 
present canvass is without foundation. I do not propose to leave Kentucky 
for the purpose of mingling in the political discussions in other States. 
The two or three speeches which I delivered recently in this State rested 
on peculiar grounds, which I need not now discuss. 

The rumor to which you refer is true. I have often, in conversation, 
expressed the wish that Mr. Douglas may succeed over his T?^publican com- 
petitor. But it is due to candor to say, that this preference is not founded 
on his course at the late session of Congress, and would not exist if I sup- 
posed it would be construed as an indorsement of the attitude which he 
then chose to assume toward his party, or of all the positions he has 
taken in the present canvass. It is not necessary to enlarge on theac things, 


( will only add, that my preference rests mainly on these consideratior.s . 
that the Kansas question is practically ended — that Mr. Douglas, in recenf 
speeches, has explicitly declared his adherence to the regular Democratic 
party organization — that he seems to be the candidate of the Illinois De- 
mocracy, and the most formidable opponent in that State of the Republican 
party, and that on more than one occasion during his public life he has 
defended the union of the States and the rights of the States with fidelity, 
courage, and great ability. 

I have not desired to say anything upon this or any other subject about 
which a difference may be supposed to exist in our political family, but 1 
did not feel at liberty to decline an answer to the courteous letter of your 

With cordial wishes for the harmony of the Illinois Democracy, and the 
hope that your great and growing State, which has never yet given a Beo* 
tional vote, may continue true to our constitutional Union, 
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

John C. BRECEiNRiDaa. 

Bw. John Moobe, Chairman of the Committee. 


RiCHUONB, Ya., 1868. 
To Hon. John Moose, Chairman af the Democratic 

State Committee of Illinois: 

Dear Sir : I cannot express to you the emotions of my bosom, excited 
by your appeal to me for aid in the warm contest which your noble De- 
mocracy is waging with abolitionism. Every impulse prompts me to rush 
to your side. Your position is a grand one, and in some respects un- 
exampled. In the face of doubt and distrust attempted to be thrown upon 
jour Democracy, and its gallant leader, by the pretext of pretenders that 
you were giving aid and comfort to the arch enemy of our country, peace 
and safety, and our party integrity, I see you standing alone — isolated by 
a tyrannical proscription, which would, alike foolishly and wickedly, lop 
off one of the most vigorous limbs of national Democracy, the limb of 
glorious Illinois ! I see you, in spite of this imputation, firmly fronting 
the foe, and battling to maintain conservative nationality — against em- 
bittered and implacable sectionalism — constitutional rights, operating 
proprid vigore, and every way against all unequal and unjust federal or 
territorial legislation ; 

The right of the people to govern themselves against all force or fraud ; 

The right of the sovereign people to look at the " returns," and hf^hind 

136 Stephen a. DotraLAS, 

the "returns," of all their representative bodies, agents, trastees, o» 
servants ; 

The responsibility of all governors, representatives, trustees, agents, and 
servants, to their principals, the people, who are " the governed," and the 
source of all political power ; 

Utter opposition to the detestable doctrine of the absolutism of con- 
ventions to prescribe and proclaim fundamental forms of government at 
/heir will, without submission to the sovereign people — a doctrine fit only 
for slaves, and claimed only by legitimists and despots of the old world ; 

Powers of any sort not expressly delegated to any man, or body of men. 
are expressly " reserved to the people ;" 

No absolute or dictatorial authority in representative boiiies. The repre- 
Bentative principle as claiming submission and obedience to the will of the 
constituents ; 

The sovereignty of the organized people supreme above all mere repre- 
Meiitative bodies, conventions, or legislatures, to decide, vote upon, and 
determine what shall be their supreme law ; 

Justice afid equality between States and their citizens, and between 
voters to elect their agents and representatives, and to ratify or reject any 
proposed system of government ; 

Submission to the constitution and laws of the federal Union, and strict 
observance of all the rights of the States and their citizens, but resistance 
to the dictation or bribes of Congress, or any other power, to yield the 
inalienable right of self-government; 

Protection in the Territories, and everywhere, to all rights of persons 
and of property, in accordance with the rights of the States, and with the 
constitution and laws of the Union; 

Equity and uniformity in the mode of admitting new States into the 
Union, making the same rules and ratios to apply to all alike ; 

The rejection of all compromises, conditions or terms which would dis- 
criminate between forms of republican constitutions, admitting one, with 
one number of population, and requiring three times that number for 
another form equally republican ; 

The great law of settlement of the public domain of the United States, 
free, equal, and just, never to be " temporized " or " localized " by tem- 
porary or partial expedients, but to be adjusted by permanent, uniforir 
and universal rules of right and justice. 

Maintaining these and the like principles, I deem it to be the aim of the 
Btruggle of the devoted Democracy in this signal contest. And so under- 
standing them, I glory in their declaration and defence. I would sacrifice 
much and go far to uphold your arms in this battle. 1 would m(yi gladly 


risit your people, address them, and invoke them to stand faot by th«i 
standard of their faith and freedom, and never to let go the truths for 
which they contend, for they are vital and cardinal, and essential, and can 
never be yielded without yielding liberty itself. 

But, sir, I am like a tied man, bound to my duties here ; and, if my 
oflSce would aUow me to leave it, I could not depart from the bedside of 
illness in my family, which would probably recall me before I could reach 
Illinois; and my own state of health admonishes me that I ought not to 
undertake a campaign as arduous as that you propose. I know what the 
labors of the stump are, and am not yet done suifering bodily from my 
efforts for Democracy in 1855. For these reasons, I cannot obey your 
call; but, permit me to add : Fight on! fight on! fight on ! — never yield 
but in dealh or victory! And, oh! that I was unbound and co"ld do 
more than look on, throbbing with every pulse of your glorious struggle — 
with its every blow and breath — cheered with its hopes, and chafed by 'ts 
doubts — You have my prayers, and I am. 

Yours truly, 

Henry A. Wise. 

The Democracy of Illinois were not satisfied with the 
spirit and tone of Mr. Breckinridge's letter, nor did they 
acknowledge the justice of the Vice-President's insinuation, 
that their position was no better than Black Republicanism, 
contained in the following paragraph : 

I have often, in conversation, expressed the wish that Mr. Douglas m"y 
succeed over his competitor ; but it is due to candor to say, that this pre- 
ference is not founded on his course at the last session of Congress, and 
would not exist if I supposed it would be construed as an indorsement of 
the attitude which he then chose to assume toward his party, or of all the 
positions he has taken in the present canvass. 

The speeches of Mr. Breckinridge, in favor of the ISTe- 
braska Bill, while that measure was pending in Congress, 
and in 1856, when a candidate for the Vice-Presidency, in 
each of which he advocated the doctrine of popular sove- 
reignty, in terms quite as explicit as those employed by Mr. 
Douglas in his Freeport speech, were too fresh in the ttiinds 
of Illinoisans to permit this implied rebuke from a gen 


tleman whom they had so recently aided in electing to the 
second office in the gift of the people to pass without hard 
thoughts. Nor did the Illinois Democrats exactly relish the 
ambiguous and equivocal language in which the Vice-President 
gave his reasons for preferring Mr. Douglas to Mr. Lincoln. 

The tone and temper of the noble letter of Governor 
Wise, replete with fervid interest in the struggle, is in strik- 
ing contrast with that of Mr. Breckinridge, and the two letters 
appearing about the same time, produced a profound impres- 
sion on the minds and feelings of the Illinois Democracy. 


Pending the campaign, the Hon. Archibald Dixon, lato 
United States senator from Kentucky, addressed a letter to 
the Hon. Henry S. Foote, under date of September 30, 
1858, in which the public career of Mr. Douglas was referred 
to, his position on the Lecompton constitution sustained, 
and his course on the Nebraska Bill vindicated. Mr. Dixon 
was formily a Whig, and will be remembered as having first 
moved the repeal of the Missouri restriction in the Senate, 
an amendment which was modified and accepted by Mr. 
Douglas, and subsequently incorporated into the Nebraska* 
Kansas Bill. 

The following extract will show in what estimation Mr 
Douglas was held by one of the retired statesmen of the coun 
try, no longer influenced by partisan feeling and persona 
rivalry : ' - 

Of Judge Douglas, personally, I have a few words to utter which I could 
not withhold, without greatly wronging my own conscience. When I ei 
tered the United States Senate a few years since, I found him a decided 
favorite with the political party then dominant both in the Senate aad the 
country. My mind had been greatly prejudiced against him, and I felt no 
dispositiou whatever to sympathize, or to »;ooperate with him. It soon 


became apparent to me, as to others, that he was, upon the whole, far the 
ablest Democratic member of the body. In the progress of true mj 
respect for him, both as a gentleman and a statesman, greatly increased. 
[ found him sociable, affable, and in the highest degree entertaining and 
instructive in social intercourse. His power, as a debater, seemed to rae 
unequalled in the Senate. He was industrious, energetic, bold, and skill- 
ful in the management of the concerns of his party. He was the acknow- 
ledged leader of the Democratic party in the Senate, and, to confess the 
truth, seemed to me to bear the honors which encircled him with suffi 
cient meekness. Such was the palmy state of his reputation ..nd 
popularity on the day that he reported to the Senate his celebrated Kan- 
sas and Nebraska Bill. 

On examining that bill, it struck me that it was deficient in one material 
respect ; it did not in terms repeal the restrictive provision in regard to 
slavery embodied in the Missouri Compromise. This, to me, was a defi- 
ciency that I thought it imperiously necessary to supply. I accordingly 
offered an amendment to that effect. My amendment seemed to take the 
Senate by surprise, and no one appeared more startled than Judge Doug- 
las himself. He immediately came to my seat and courteously remon- 
strated against my amendment, suggesting that the bill which he had 
introduced was almost in the words of the Territorial acts for the organi- 
zation of Utah and New Mexico ; that they being a part of the Compro- 
mise measures of 1850, he had hoped that I, a known and zealous friend 
of the wise and patriotic adjustment which had then taken place, would 
not be inclined to do anything to call that adjustment in question or 
weaken it before the country. 

I replied that it was precisely because I had been, and was, a firm and 
zealous friend of the Compromise of 1850, that I felt bound to persist in the 
movement which I had originated ; that 1 was weU satisfied that the Mis- 
souri restriction, if not expressly repealed, would continue to operate in 
the Territory to which it had been applied, thus negativing the great and 
salutary principle of non-intervention, which constituted the most promi- 
nent and essential feature of the plan of settlement of 1850. We talked 
for some time amicably, and separated, feoaae days afterward Judge 
Douglas came to my lodgings, while I was confined by physical indisposi- 
tion, and urged me to get up and take a ride with him in his carriage. I 
accepted his invitation and rode out with him. During our short excur- 
sion we talked on the subject of my proposed amendment, and Judge 
Douglas, to my high gratification, proposed to me that I should allow hiin 
(O take charge of the amendment and ingraft it oa his TerritArial Bill. I 


acceded to the proposition at once, whereupon a most interesting inter 
change occurred between us. 

On this occasion, Judge Douglas spoke to me, in substance, thus : " \ 
have become perfectly satisfied that it is my duty, as a fair-minded national 
statesman, to cooperate with you as proposed in securing the repeal of the 
Missouri Compromise restriction. It is due to the South ; it is due to the 
Constitution, heretofore palpably infracted; it is due to that character for 
consistency, which I have heretofore labored to maintain. The repeal, if 
we can effect it, will produce much stir and commotion in the free States 
of the Union for a season. I shall be assailed by demagogues and fana- 
tics there, without stint or moderation. Every opprobrious epithet will 
be applied to me. I shall be probably hung in effigy in many places. It 
is more than probable that I may become permanently odious among those 
whose friendship and esteem I have heretofore possessed. This proceed- 
ing may end my political career. But, acting under the sense of the duty 
which animates me, I am prepared to make the sacrifice. I will do it." 

He spoke in the most earnest and touching manner, and I confess that 
I was deeply affected. I said to him in reply : " Sir, I once recognized 
you as a demagogue, a mere party manager, selfish and intriguing. I now 
find you a warm-hearted and sterling patriot. Go torward in the pathway 
of duty as you propose, and though all the world desert you, I never 

The subsequent course of this extraordinary personage is now before 
the country. His great speeches on this subject, in the Senate and else- 
where, have since been made. As a true national statesman — as an 
inflexible and untiring advocate and defender of the Constitution of hia 
country — as an enlightened, fair-minded, and high-souled patriot, he haa 
fearlessly battled for principle ; he has with singular consistency pursued 
the course which he promised to pursue when we talked together in Wash- 
ington, neither turning to the right nor to the left. Though sometimes 
reviled and ridiculed by those most benefited by his labors, he has n^ver 
been heard to complain. Persecuted by the leading men of the party h? 
had so long served and sustained, he has demeaned himself, on all occa- 
sions, with moderation and dignity ; though he has been ever earnest in 
the performance of duty, energetic in combating and overcoming the ob- 
Btacles which have so strangely beset his pathway, and always readv to 
meet and to overthrow such adversaries as have ventured to encounter 
him. He has been faithful to his pledge ; he has been true to the South 
and to the Union, and I intend to be faithful to my own pledge. I am 
sincerely grateful for his public services. I feel the highest ad^airation for 


aJ his noble qualities and high achievements, and I regard liis r&piitation 
&a part of the moral treasures of the nation itself. 

And now, in conclusion, permit me to say that the southern peoplfl 
cannot enter into unholy alliance for the destruction of Judge Douglas, 
if they are true to themselves, for he has made more sacrifices to sustain 
southern institutions than any man now living. Southern men may, and 
doubtless have, met the enemies of the South in the councils of the nation, 
and sustained, by their votes and their speeches, her inaUenable rights 
under the Constitution of O'ar common couiitr^ ; northern men may have 
voted that those rights should not be wresied from us ; but it has remained 
for Judge Douglas alone, northern man as he is, to throw himself " into 
the deadly imminent breach," and like the steadfast and everlasting rock 
of the ocean, to withstand the fierce tide of fanaticism, and drive back 
those angry billows which threatened to ingulf his country's happiness. 

I have the honor to be, very respectfully and cordially, your friend and 
fellow-citizen, Arch. Dixon. 

Our limits will not allow us to refer further to the incidents 
of the Illinois campaign. The canvass on both sides was 
conducted with unparalleled spirit and energy until the day 
of the election. The result is well known. The Repubhcana 
were completely routed, and a Democratic legislature chosen. 
Mr. Douglas' majority on joint ballot was eight, three in the 
Senate and five in the House. Most of the federal office- 
bolders voted the Republican ticket, and the reason assigned 
for this act of treachery to the party was, that the entire 
Catholic vote had remauied faithful to the part;r with which 
they had usually acted. 



Mr. Douglas leaves Chicago for New Orleans — Received at St. JiOuia sad 
Memphis — Brilliant Reception at New Orleans. 

Soon after the close of the Illinois campaign, in November, 
1858, Mr. Douglas, with his family, left Chicago for the pur- 
pose of making a brief visit to New Orleans, to attend to 
some pressing private matters which his public duties had 
constrained him too long to neglect. He gave no noticc> of 
his intention to make the trip, desiring to perform the 
ney as speedily and quietly as possible. Remaining in St. 
Louis a day, for a boat to convey him down the river, the 
news of his presence soon spread through the city, and Vhat 
night he was honored with a serenade by a large concourse 
of citizens, who assembled around the hotel and insisted on 
a speech. Mr. Douglas acknowledged the ccmpliment in a 
few appropriate remarks, and expressed his gratification that 
the people of Missouri, who were so dee23ly interested in the 
institution of slavery, so justly appreciated the nature and 
importance of the contest through which he had recently 
passed in Illinois. 

Proceeding down the river without giving any public 
notice of his destination, Mr. Douglas was surprised when, 
nearly a hundred miles above Memphis, he was notified tnat 


vte Democracy of that city had learned by telegraph of hia 
intended visit to New Orleans, and had appointed a commit- 
tee of one hundred persons and chartered a steamer to pro- 
ceed up the river and meet him, for the purpose of inducing 
him to stop a day at Memphis and accept of the hospitalities 
of that city. Not feeling at liberty to decline so flattering 
an invitation, Mr. Douglas placed himself in the hands of the 
committee, and on the following day addressed a large meet 
ing of the citizens of Memphis on the political topics of the 
day. In this speech Mr. Douglas confined himself mainly to 
a discussion of the points presented in the Illinois campaign, 
prefacing it with the declaration, that no political creed was 
sound which could not be proclaimed equally as well in one 
State of the Union as in the other. On a comparison of the 
published report of this speech, as it appeared in the news- 
papers of the day, we find that he asserted the same views 
on the Territorial question in Memphis as he had done in 

The cordial and enthusiastic approbation with which his 
audience received his speech, must have satisfied Mr. Dou- 
glas that Democracy was the same in Tennessee as in 

At New Orleans, Mr. Douglas' reception was truly grand 
and magnificent. Approaching the Crescent at 9 o'clock at 
night, he was received by the city authorities, the military 
and the citizens, amidst the firing of cannon and in the glare 
of a brilliant illumination. He was escorted to the St. 
Charles Hotel, where he was lodged as the guest of the city, 
and addressed by the mayor on behalf of the municipal au 
thorities, and by Hon. Pierre Soule on behalf of the citizens, 
in eloquent speeches of congratulation on his brilliant victory 
in Illinois over the enemies of the Constitution and the 
Union, to each of which he made an appropriate response. 



Mr. Douglas again in Washington — Experiences a Change of Atmosphere- 
Scene shifts — Removed from Post of Chairman of Territorial Commit- 
tee — His Services as Chairman — Pretext of Removal — Freeport Speech — 
Letter to California in reply to Dr. Gwin. 

When Mr. Douglas reached Washington, where Executive 
power and patronage stifles popular sentiment, he found him- 
self suddenly plunged into a very different atmosphere from 
that which he had been breathing in the past few weeks, 
Failing in their efforts to defeat his reelection to the Senate 
by a disreputable coalition with the abolitionists of Illinois, 
his enemies contrived a new scheme to humble and degrade 
the unsubdued rebel. For thirteen years previous, he had 
been chairman of the Committee on Territories, two years in 
the House and eleven in the Senate. In that capacity, he 
had reported and successfully carried through Congress bills 
for the admission of the following States : Texas, Iowa, Wis- 
consin, California, Oregon, and Minnesota. 

During the same period, he had reported and successfully 
carried through Congress bills to organize the following Ter- 
ritories : Oregon, Minnesota, New Mexico, Utah, Washing- 
ton, Kansas, and Nebraska. In that time, he had met and 
mastered every intricate question which had arisen connected 
with the organization of the Territories and the admission of 
new States. Confessedly, he was more familiar with all sub- 
jects pertaining to Territorial legislation, than any other liv- 
ing man. His peculiar qualifications and acquaintance with 


the subject, induced the Senate, on the day of his first 
entrance into that body, to put him at the head of the Terri- 
torial Committee. He had been unanimously nominated in 
the Democratic caucus, and reelected chairman of that com- 
mittee each succeeding year. With a full knowledge on the 
part of every senator of his views and opinions on Territoiial 
policy, what excuse can be given for "-.tie removal of a man 
from a position which he had so long filled with such distin- 
guished ability, and for which he was so eminently qualified ? 
With or without excuse, however, the deed was consum- 
mated in a secret caucus, and in Mr. Douglas' absence. The 
public indignation at his removal was almost universal. 
Indeed, so heavily did it fall on those engaged in it, but 
three or four senator* have ever had the boldness to confess 
themselves parties to the act, and even these have assigned 
a reason as a pretext for the deed, which is an insult to the 
intelligence of the American people, and but a poor compli- 
ment to their own understanding; since they affected to call 
in question Mr. Douglas' political orthodoxy for the expres- 
sion of an opinion in his Illinois campaign, which he had 
advanced and elaborated in his speeches on the Compromise 
measures of 1850, and upon the passage of the Kansas- 
Nebraska Bill, and indeed upon every discussion of the 
slavery question in which he had participated for the ten 
years previous to his removal. 

Notwithstanding Mr. Douglas, in all his joint debates M'ith 
Mr. Lincoln, in Illinois, had taken direct issue with him on all his 
abolition proposition* — assuming bold ground against negro 
citizenship — reasserting his old position, that aniformity in 
the institutions of the various States was neither possible nor 
desirable — treating negro-slavery as purely a question of 
climate, production, and political economy, to be regulated 
by their inexorable laws — sustaining the Fugitive Slave Law, 
8^nd avowing hie willingness, if not strong enough, to vot-e W 


make it stronger — maintaining the binding force of all 
supreme /udicial decisions — vindicating the equality ot all 
the States, and proclaiming the right of all their citizens to 
emigrate into the common Territories on the basis of an 
entire equality under the local law, with their property of all 
descriptions, whether horses, clocks, negroes or what not — 
denouncing the doctrines of the " irrepressible conflict," 
when advanced by Lincoln four months prior to Seward's 
Rochester speech — sustaining the regular organization of the 
Democratic party, and maintaining the Democratic creed as 
enunciated in the Cincinnati platform ;— notwithstanding al? 
these facts, they seized on an answer of Mr. Douglas to a 
question propounded by Mr, Lincoln, at Freeport, took it 
from its context and offered it to the country as the reason 
for his removal from the chairmanship of the Committee on 

It went for nothing that Col. Jefterson Davis had uttered, 
a few weeks before, at Portland, similar views touching the 
power of the people of the Territories, which Mr. Doughis 
quoted and indorsed in a joint debate with Mr. Lincoln at 
Alton, as containing his own views — nothing that Stephens, 
Orr, Cobb, and a host of Democratic lights, great and small, 
were committed to the same proposition — nothing that Mr. 
Douglas was simply repeating as the Washington " Union" at 
that time in an elaborate article charged and proved (alleg- 
ing that he was consistently unsound), what he had uttered 
frequently in the debates on the Compromise measures of 
1850 — nothing that Col. Richardson, when the Democratic 
candidate for Speaker, in 1855, had expressed similar opinions, 
ind received, afterward, every Democratic \ote in tho 
House — it booted nothing that Mr. Douglas was on rec-'-rd 
one hundred times advocating the same doctrine while these 
very men (his present accusers) were his advocates for the 
Presidency. These things all stood for nothipo' 



It IS a remaikable fact, that while Mr. Doughis was removed 
from the Committee on Territories in December, 1858, no 
senator ever publicly assigned Mr. Douglas' Freeport speech 
as a cause for it, until in July, 1859, Dr. Gwin gave this 
reason in a speech in California. Mr. Douglas promptly 
replied to Dr. Gwin's speech, in a letter addressed to the 
editor of the San Francisco "National," from which we 
extract so much as relates to this subject : 

The country is now informed for the first time that I was removed from 
the post of chairman of the Committee on Territories because of the senti- 
ments contained in my " Freeport speech." To use the language of Mr. 
Gwin, " The doctrines he had avowed in his Freeport speech had been 
condemned in the Senate by his removal from the chairmanship of the 
Territorial Committee of that body." The country will bear in mind this 
testimony, that I was not removed because of any personal unkindness or 
hostility ; nor in consequence of my course on the Lecompton question, 
or in respect to the administration ; but that it was intended as a condem- 
nation of the doctrines avowed in my "Freeport speech." The only posi- 
tion taken in my " Freeport speech," which I have ever seen criticised or 
controverted, may be stated in a single sentence, and was in reply to an 
Laterrogatory propounded by my competitor for the Senate : " That " the 
Territorial legislature could lawfully exclude slavery, either by non-action 
or unfriendly legislation." This opinion was not expressed by me at Free- 
port for the first time. I have expressed the same opinion often in the 
Senate, freely and frequently, in the presence of those senators who, as 
Mr. Gwin testifies, removed me " from the chairmanship of the Committee 
on Territories," ten years after they knew that I held the opinion, and 
would never surrender it. 

I could fill many columns of the " National " with extracts of speeches 
made by me during the discussion of the Compromise measures in 1850, 
and in defence of the principles embodied in those measures in 1851 and 
1852, in the discussion of the Kansas-Neb" iska Bill in 1854, and of the 
Kansas difficulties and the Topeka revolutionary movements in 1856, in aU 
of which I expressed the same opinion and defended the same position 
which was assumed in the " Freeport speeech." I will not. however, bur 


den your columns or weary your readers with extracts of all these speeches, 
but will refer you to each volume of the "Congressional Globe" for ths 
last ten years, where you will find them fully reported. If you cannot 
conveniently procure the the " Congressional Globe," I refer you to an 
editorial article in the Washington " Union " of October 5, 1858, which, it 
was reported, received the sanction of the President of the United Statea 
previously to its publication, a few weeks after my "Freeport speech" had 
been delivered. The " Union " made copious extracts of my speeches in 
1850 and 1854, to prove that at each of those periods I held the same 
opinions which I expressed at Freeport in 1858, and, consequently, de- 
clared that I never was a good Democrat, much less sound on the slavery 
question, when I advocated the Compromise measures of 1850, and the 
Kansas-Nebraska Bill in 1854. 

In the article referred to, the Washington Union said : 

"We propose to show that Judge Douglas' action in ISoO and 1854 was taken with 
especial reference to the announcement of doctrine and programme which was made at 
Freeport. The declaration at Freeport was, that in his opinion the people can, by 
lawful means, exclude slavery from a Territory before it comes in as a State;' and be 
declared that his competitor had 'heard him argue the Nebraska Bill on that principle 
all over Illinois in 1854, 1855, and 1856, and had no excuse to pretend to have any doubt 
on that subject.' " 

T.' 8 Union summed up the evidence furnished by my speeches in the 
Senite in 1850 and 1854. that the '• Freport speech" was consistent with 
my former course, with this emphatic declaration. 

" Thus we have shown that precisely the position assumed by Judge Douglas at Free- 
port had been maintained by him in 1850, in the debates and votes on the Utah and Ne^ 
Mexican Bills, and in 18 4 on the Kansas-Nebraska Bill; and have shown that it wa! 
owing to his opposition tuat clauses depiiving Territorial legislatuies of the power of 
excluding slavery from their jurisdictions were not expressly inserted in those meaeares." 

The evidence thus presented by the Washington " Union" — the evidence 
of an open enemy — is so full and conclusive, that I have uniformly advo- 
«ated for ten years past the same principles which I avowed at Freeport, 
that I cannot refrain from asking you to spread the entire article before 
your readers, as an appendix, if you choose, to this letter. 

The question whether the people of the Territories sliould be permitted 
to decide the slavery question for themselves, the same as all other right- 
ful subjects of legislation, was thoroughly discussed and definitively settled 
in the adoption of the Compromise measures of 1850. The Territorial bills, 
M originally reported on by the Committee on Territories, extended tbq 


Authoritj of the Territorial legislature to all rightful subjects of legiatatioj} 
consistent with the Constitution, without excepting African slavery. Modi< 
fied by the Committee of Thirteen, tliey conferred power on the Territorial 
legislature over all rightful subjects of legislation, except African slavery. 
This distinct question, involving the power of the Territorial legislature 
over the subject of African slavery, was debated in the Senate from the 8th 
of May until the 31st of July, 1850, when the limitation was stricken out 
by a vote of yeas 33, nays 19; and the Territorial legislature authorized 
to legislate on all rightful subjects, without excepting African slavery. In 
this form and upon this principle, the Compromise measures of 1850 were 

When I returned to my home in Chicago, at the end of the session of 
Congress, after the adoption of the measures of adjustment, the excite- 
ment was intense. The City Council had passed a resolution nullifying 
the Fugitive Slave Act, and releasing the poHce from all obligations to 
obey the law or assist in its execution. Amidst this furious excitement, 
and surrounded by revolutionary movements, I addressed the assembled 
populace. My speech, in which I defended each and all of the Compro- 
Biise measures of 1850, was published at the time, and spread broadcftst 
throughout the country. I herewith send you a copy of that speech, in 
nrhich you will find that I said — 

" These measures are predicated on the great fundamental principle that every people 
eught to possess the right of forming and regulating their own internal concerns ani 
domestic institutions in their own way. It was supposed tliat those of our fellow-citizens 
who emigrated to the shores of the Pacific and to our other territories, were as capable 
of self-government as their neighbors and kindred whom they left behind them ; and 
there was no reason for believing that they have lost any of their intelligence or patriot- 
ism by the wayside, while crossing the Isthmus or the Plains. It was also believed that 
after their arrival in the country, when they had become familiar with its topography, 
climate, productions, and resources, and had connected their destiny with it, they were 
fully as competent to judge for themselves what kind of laws and institutions were best 
adapted to their condition and interests, as we were, who never saw the country, and 
knew very little about it. To question their competency to do this was to deny their 
capacity for self-government. If they have the requisite intelligence and honesty to be 
intrusted with the enactment of laws for the government of white men, I know Df no 
reason why they should not be deemed competent to legislate for the negro. If they 
are sufficiently enlighttned to make laws for the protection of Ufe, liberty, and property 
—of morals and education— to determine the relation of husband and wife, of parent 
and child— I am not aware that it requires any higher degree of civilization to regulate 
the affairs of master and servant. These things are all confided by the Constitution to 
each State to decide for itself, and I know of no reason why the same principle should 
Bot be extended to the Territories." 

This speech was laid on the desk of every member of the Senate, it thfi 


opening of the second session of the 31st Congress, in December, \86( 
when, with a full knowledge of my opinions on the Territorial question, 1 
was unanimously nominated in the Democratic caucus, and reelected by 
the Senate chairman of the Committee on Territories. From that time 
to this I have spoken the same sentiments, and vindicated the same posi- 
tions in debate in the Senate, and have been reelected chairman of the 
Committee on Territories at each session of Congress, until last December, 
by the unanimous voice of the D-emocratic party in caucus and in the Sen- 
ate, with my opinions on this Territorial question well known to, and well 
understood by every senator. Yet Mr, Gwin testifies that I was condemned 
and deposed by the Senate for the utterance of opinions in 1858, which 
were put on record year after year so plainly and so unequivocally as to 
'eave neither the Senate nor the country in doubt. Thus does Mr. Gwin, 
n his eagerness to be my public accuser, speak his own condemnation, for 
le voted for me session after session, with my opinions, the same that I 
ipoke at Freeport, staring him in the face. 

On the 4th of January, 1854, I reported the Nebraska Bill, and, as 
chairman of the Committee on Territories, accompanied it with a special 
report, in which I stated distinctly " that all questions pertaining to 
slavery in the Territories, and in the new States to be formed therefrom, 
are to be left to the decision of the people residing therein, by their appro- 
priate representatives to be chosen by them for that purpose." And that 
the bill proposed " to carry these propositions and principles into practical 
operation in the precise language of the Compromise measures of 1850." 
The Kansas-Nebraska Act, as it stands on the statute book, does define the 
power of the Territorial legislature " in the precise laaguage of the Com- 
promise measures of 1850." It gives the legislature power over all 
rightful subjects of legislation not inconsistent with the Constitution, 
without excepting African slavery. During the discussion of the measure 
it was suggested that it was necessary to repeal the 8th section of the act 
of the 6th of March, 1850, called the Missouri Compromise, in order to 
permit the people to control the slavery question while they remained In a 
Territorial condition, and before they became a State of the Union. That 
was the object and only purpose for which the Missouri Compromise was 

On the night of the Sd of March, 1854, in my closing speech on the 
Kansas-Nebraska Bill, a few hours before it passed the Senate, I said : " It 
is only for the purpose of carrying out this great fundam-ental principle of 
■elf-government that the bill renders the 8th section of the Missouii Act 
inoperative and void." The article of the Washington " Union " of Octobel 


$, 1868, tb which I have referred, quotes this and other passages of ray 
ipeech on that occasion, to prove that the author of the Nebraska Bill 
framed it with express reference to conferring on the Territorial legisla- 
ture power to control the slavery question. And further, that I boldly 
avowed the purpose at the time in the presence of all the friends of tho 
bill, and urged its passage upon that ground. I have never understood 
that Mr. Gwin, or any other senator who heard that speech and voted for 
the bill the same night, expressed any dissent or disapprobation of the 
doctrines it announced. That was the time for dissent and disapprobation ; 
that was the time to condemn, if there were to condemn, and not 
four or five years later. The record furnishes no such evidence of dissent 
or disapprobation ; nor does the history of those times show that the 
Democratic party, in the North or in the South, or in any portion of the 
country, repudiated the fundamental principle upon which the Kansas- 
Nebraska Act is founded, and proscribed its advocates and defenders. 

If Mr. Gwin did not understand the Kansas-Nebraska Bill when it waa 
under consideration, according to its plain meaning as explained and 
defended by its authors and supporters, it is not the fault of those who 
did understand it precisely as I interpreted it at Freeport, and as the 
country understood it in the Presidential canvass of 1856. Mr. Buchanan, 
and leading members of his cabinet, at all events, understood the Kansas- 
Nebraska Act in the same sense in which it was understood and defended 
at the time of its passage. Mr. Buchanan, in his letter accepting the 
Cincinnati nomination, affirmed that " this, legislation is founded upon 
principles as ancient as free government itself, and, in accordance with 
them, has simply declared that the people of a Territory, like those of a 
State, shall decide for themselves whether slavery shall or shall not exist 
within their limits." General Cass, now secretary of state, has always 
maintained, from the day he penned the " Nicholson Letter " to this, that 
the people of the Territories have a right to decide the slavery question 
for themselves whenever they please. In 1856, on the 2d day of July, 
referring to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, he said : " I believe the original 
act gave the Territorial legislature of Kansas full power to exclude or 
allow slavery." Mr. Toucey, the secretary of the navy, interpreted that 
act in the same way, and, on the same occasion in the Senate, said : 

"The original act recognizes in the Territorial legislature all the power which they can 
kave, subject to the Constitution, and subject to the organic law of the Territory." 

Mr. Cobb, the secretary of the treasury, in a speech at West Chester, 
Pennsylvania, on the 19th of September, 1856, advocating Mr. Buchanan'i 
election to the Presidency, said : 


'•The gorernmei.t of the United States should not force the institution o.' slaTery upos 
Ihe people eithei' of the Territories or of the States, against the will of the people, thouffli 
my voice could bring about that result. I stand upon the principle — the people of mj 
State decide it for themselves, you for yourselves, the people of Kansas for themselves- 
That is the Constitution, and I stand by the Constitution." And again, in the same speech, 
he said : "Whether they" (the people of a Territory) " decide it by prohibiting it, ac- 
cording to the one doctrine, or by refusing to pass laws to protect it, as contended for 
by the other party, is immaterial. The majority of the people, by the action of the 
Territorial legislature, will decide the question; and all must abide the decision when 

Here we find the doctrines of the Freeport speech, including " non-ac- 
tion " and " unfriendly legislation " as a lawful and proper mode for the ex- 
clusion of slavery from a Territory clearly defined by Mr. Cobb, and the 
election of Mr. Buchanan advocated on those identical doctrines. Mr. 
Cobb made similar speeches during the Presidential canvass in other 
sections of Pennsylvania, in Maine, Indiana, and most of the northern 
States, and was appointed secretary of the treasury by Mr. Buchanan aa 
a mark of gratitude for the efficient services which had been thus rendered. 
Will any senator who voted to remove me from the chairmanship of the 
Territorial Committee for expressing opinions for which Mr. Cobb, Mr. 
Toucey, and General Cass were rewarded, pretend that he did not know 
that they or either of them had ever uttered such opinions when their 
nominations were before the Senate ? I am sure that no senator will 
make so humiliating a confession. Why, then, were those distinguished 
gentlemen appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate aa 
cabinet ministers if they were not good Democrats — sound on the slavery 
question, and faithful exponents of the principles and creed of the party } 
Is it not a significant fact that the President and the most distinguishec' 
and honored of his cabinet should have been solemnly and irrevocably 
pledged to this monstrous heresy of " popular sovereignty," for asserting 
which the Senate, by Mr. Gwin's frank avowal, condemned me to the 
extent of their power? 

It must be borne in mind, however, that tje President aad members 0/ 
the cabinet are not the only persons high in authority who are committed 
to the principle of self-government in the Territories. The Hon. John C. 
Breckinridge, the Vice-President of the United States, was a member of 
the House of Representatives when the Kansas-Nebraska Bill passed, and 
in a speech delivered March 23, 1854, said : 

" Among the many misrepresentations sent to the eountry by some of the enemies of 
this bill, perhaps none is more flagrant than the charge that it proposes to legislate 
llaTery into Kaasas and Nebraska. Sir, if the bill contained such a f^vture It vould not 


rectflye my vote. The right to establish Involves the correlative right to proh'bit, and 

denying both I would vote for neither 

"The effect of the repeal, (of the Missouri Compromise,) therefore, is neither to estab 
lish nor to exclude, but to leave the future condition of the Territories dependent wholly 
upon the action of the inhabitants, subject only to such limitations as the federal Con- 

gtitution may impose It will be observed that the right of the 

people to regulate in their own way all their domestic institutions is left wlioUy untouched, 
except that whatever is done must be done in accordance with the Constitution — the 
supreme law for us all." 

Again, at Lexington, Kentucky, on the 9th of June, 1856, in response 
to the congratulations of his neighbors on his nomination for the Vice- 
Presidency, Mr. Breckinridge said: 

" The whole power of the Democratic organiiation is pledged to the following proposi- 
tions : That Congress shall not interpose upon this subject (slavery) in the States, in the 
Territories, or in the District of Columbia ; that the people of each Territory shall deter- 
mine the question for themselves, and be admitted into the Union upon a footing of 
perfect equality with the original States, without discrimination on account of the allow- 
ance or prohibition of slavery." 

Touching the power of the Territorial legislature over the subject of 
slavery, the Hon. James L. Orr, late speaker of the House of Representa- 
tives, on the 11th of December, 1856, said: 

" Now, the legislative authority of a Territory is invested with a discretion to vote for 
or against the laws. We think they ought to pass laws in every Territory, when the Ter- 
ritory is open to settlement and slaveholders go there, to protect slave property. But if 
they decline to pass such law, what is the remedy ? None, sir, if the majority of the 
people are opposed to the institution ; and if they do not desire it ingrafted upon their 
Territory, all they have to do is simply to decline to pass laws in the Territorial legis- 
«ature for its protection, and then it is as well exclude:) as if the power was invested in 
the Territorial legislature to prohibit it." 

Mr. Stephens, of Georgia, in a speech in the House of Representatives 
on the 17th of February, 1854, said: 

"The whole question of slavery was to be left to the people of the Territories, whether 
north or south of 36^ 80', or any other line 

" It was based upon the truly republican and national policy of taking this disturbing 
element out of Congress and leaving the whole question of slavery in the Territories to 
the people there to settle it for themselves. And it is in vindication of that new prin- 
ciple — then established for the first time in the history of our government — in the year 
1850, the middle of the nineteenth century, that we, the friends of the Nebraska Bill, 
whether from the North or South, now call upon this house and the country to carry out 
in good faith, and give effect to the spirit and intaut of those important measures of Ter 
Titorial let^islation." 


Again, on the I'Tth of January, 1856, he said: 

*• 1 Am Tlilling that the Territorial legislature may act upon the subject whan ftnd ho* 
ihcy may think proper." 

Mr. Benjamin, of Louisiana, in a speech in the Senate on the 25th of 
May, 1854, on the Nebraska Bill, said : 

" We find, then, that this principle of the independence and self-government of the 
people in the distant Territories of the confederacy harmonizes all these conflicting 
ppinions, and enables us to banish from the halls of Congress another fertile source of 
content and excitement." 

On February 15, 1854, Mr. Badger, of North Carolina, said of the 
Kansas-Nebraska Bill : 

" It submits the whole authority to the Territory to determine for itself. That in my 
judgment, is the place where it ought to be put. If the people of the Territories choose 
to exclude slavery, so far from considering it as a wrong done to me or to my consti- 
tuents, I shall not complain of it. It is their business." 

Again, on March 2, 1854, one day before the passage of the bill through 

the Senate, Mr. Badger said : 

" But with regard to that question we have agreed — some of us because we thought It 
the only right mode, and some because we think it a right mode, and under existing cir- 
cumstances the preferable mode — to confer this power upon the people of the Territories." 

On the same day Mr. Butler, of South Carolina, said : 

" Now, I believe that under the provisions of this bill, and of the Utah and New Mexico 
bills, there will be a perfect carte blanche given to the Territorial legislature to legislate 

«s they may think proper I am willing to trust them. I have been 

willing to trust them in Utah and New Mexico, where the Mexican law prevailed, and I 
am willing to trust them in Nebraska and Kansas, where the French law, according to 
the idea of the gentleman, may possibly be revived." 

In the House of Representatives, June 25, 1856, Mr. Samuel A. Smith, 
Tennessee, said : • 

" For twenty years this question had agitated Congress and the country without a 
Bingle beneficial result. They resolved that it should be transferred from these halls, 
that all unconstitutional restrictions should be removed, and that the people should de- 
termine for themselves the character of their local and domestic institutions under which 
Ihey were to live, with precisely the same rights, but no greater than those which wer« 
tqjoyed by the old thirteen States." 

And further ; 

** la IIM, th« same question was presented, wb«n the necessity arose for tlie ergaDiMi> 


(fon of the Territones of Kansas acd Nebraska, and the identical principle was vffHiA 
for its solution " 

In the Senate, on the 25th of February, 1854, Mr. Dodge, of Iowa (now 
Democratic candidate for governor of that State), said : 

"And, sir, honesty and consistency with our course in 1850 demand that those of ns 
irho supported the Compromise measures should zealously support this bill, because it 
Is a return to the sound principle of leaving to the people of the Territories the right of 
determining for themselves their domestic institutions." 

And in the House of Representatives, December 28, 1855, Mr. George 
»V. Jones, of Tennessee, said : 

*' Then, sir, you may call it by what name you please — non-intervention, squatter 
lovereignty, or popular sovereignty. It is, sir, the power of the people to govern them* 
selves, and they, and they alone, should exercise it, in my opinion, as well while in a 
Territorial conditiom as in the position of a State." 

And again, in the same speech, he said : 

" I believe that the great principle — the right of the people in the Territories, as well 
as in the States, to form and regulate their own domestic institutions in their own way — 
Is clearly and unequivocally embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and if It is not, U 
should have been. Believing that it was the living, vital principle of the act, I voted for 
It. These are my views, honestly entertained, and will be defended." 

I could fill you columns with extracts of speeches of senators and repre- 
sentatives from the North and the South who voted for the Kansas-Nebraska 
Bill and supported Mr. Buchanan for the Presidency on that distinct issue ; 
thus showing conclusively that it was the general understanding at the time 
that the people of the Territories, while they remained in a Territorial con- 
dition, were left perfectly free, under the Kansas-Nebraska Act, to form and 
regulate all their domestic institutions, slavery not excepted, in their own 
way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States. This is the 
doctrine of which Mr. Gwin spoke when he said : 

"To contend for the power — and a sovereign power it Is — of a Territorial legislatiu e to 
exclude by non-action or hostile legislation is pregnant with the mischiefs of never- 
ending agitation, of civil discord, and bloody wars. 


** It is an absurd, monstrous, and dangerous theory, which demands denunciation from 
every patriot in the land ; and a profound sense of my duty to you would not permit me 
10 do less than to offer this brief statement of my views upon a question so vital to the 
welfare of our common country." 

Whj did not the same " profound sense of duty " to the people of Cal* 
fornia require Mr. Gwin to denounce thia " absurd, monstrous, and das 

156 BTEPHfiN A. D0TJGLA8. 

gsi'O'Ja theory when pronounced and enforced bj General Cass, in sopport 
of the Compromise measures of 1850, and thence repeated bj' that emineni 
statesman at each session of Congress until 1857, when Mr. Gwin voted for 
his confirmation as secretary of state ? Why did not Mr. Gwin obey the 
same sense of duty by denouncing James Buchanan as the Democratic 
candidate for the Presidency, when he declared, in 1856, that "the 
people of a Territory, like those of a State, shall decide for themselves 
whether slavery shall or shall not exist within their limits ?" Why did he 
riOt perform this imperative duty by voting against Mr. Cobb, who made 
northern votes for Mr. Buchanan by advocating this same " absurd, 
monstrous uud dangerous theory of 'non-action' and 'unfriendly legisla- 
tion '"wncn ne was appointed secretary of the treasury? And, in short, 
why did ne not prove his fidelity to a high sense of duty by protesting 
against m;^ selection as chairman of the Senate's Committee on Territories 
in the Democratic caucus by a unanimous vote, at every session that he 
has been a senator, from 1850 to 1858, with a full knowledge of my 
opinions ? The inference is, that Mr. Gwin, from his remarks on the 
" Dred Scott decision," is prepared to offer it as an excuse for the disregard 
for so many years of that profo-und sense of duty which he owed to the 
people of California. It may be that before the decision his mind was not 
clear as to the sense of duty which now moves him. Of that decision he 

" In March, 1857, the Supreme Court decided this question, in all its various relations, 
in the case of Dred Scott. That decision declares that neither Congress nor a Territorial 
legislature possesses the power either to establish or to exclude slavery from the Territory, 
and that it was a power which exclusively belonged to the States ; that the people of a 
Territory can exercise this power for the first time when they form a constitution ; that 
the right of the people of any State to carry their slaves into a common Territory of the 
United States, and hold them there during its existence as such, was guaranteed by the 
Constitution of the United States ; that it was a right which could neither be subverted 
nor evaded, either by non-action, by direct or indirect Congressional legislation, or by 
any law passed by a Territorial legislature." 

Surely Mr. Gwin had never read the opinion of the Court in the case of 
"Dred Scott," except as it had been perverted for partisan purposes by 
new,spapers, when he undertook to expound it to the good people of Cali- 

It «o happens that the court did not decide any one of the proposition! 
so boldly and emphatically stated in the " Grass Valley " speech ! 

The court did not declare that " neither Congress nor a Territorial le- 
gislature possessed the power either to establish or exclude slavery from s 



Territory, and that it wae a power which exclusively belonged to the 

The court did not declare " that the people of a Territory can exercise 
ihia power for the first time when they come to form a constitution. 

The court did not declare "that the right of the people in any State to 
•iarry their slaves into a common Territory of the United States, and holA 
f,hem there during its existence as such, was guaranteed by the Constitu- 
tion of the United States." 

The court did not declare " that it was a right which could neither bo 
iubverted nor evaded, either by non-action, by direct or indirect Con- 
gressional legislation, or by any law passed by a Territorial legislature." 

Neither the decision nor the opinion of the court affirms any one of those 
propositions, either in express terms or by fair legal intendment. 

This version of the " Dred Scott Decision " had its origin in the unfor- 
tunate Lecompton controversy, and is one of the many political heresies to 
which it gave birth. 


Oil the 18th of February, 1859, President Buchanan had sent 
to Congress a special message, in which he urged the neces- 
bity of passing " a law conferring upon the President of the 
United States the authority to employ a sufficient military or 
naval force, whenever it might be necessary to do so, for the 
protection of American citizens when out of the immediate 
jurisdiction of the United States. Mr. Douglas spoke in 
favor of such a law, and said : " I think sir, that the Presi- 
dent of the United States ought to have the power to re- 
dress sudden injuries upon our citizens, or outrages upon our 
flag, without waiting for the action of Congress. The Ex- 
ecutive of every other powerful nation on earth has that 
authority. Our merchants are now being driven out of the 
trade in the Mexican and South American ports, for the want 
of authority in the Executive to demand and enforce instant 
redress the moment the outrage is perj^etrated. I go fur- 
ther, sir ; I would intrust the Executive with the authority, 
when an outrage is perpetrated upon our ships or coiumercu, 


to punish it instantly. I desire the President of the United 
States to have as much authority to protect American citi« 
zens, American property, and the American flag, abroad, as 
the Executive of every other civihzed nation on earth pos- 


On the 23d of February, in a debate on the Legislative 
Appropriation Bill, Mr. Brown, of Mississippi, made a speech 
in the Senate, insisting on a code of laws protecting slavery 
in the Territories. Admitting that, if the people of the Terri- 
tories did not want negroes, they could lawfully legislate 
so as to accomphsh their purpose, he assumed that it was the 
right and duty of Congress to enact laws to sustain it against 
the popular will. Taking Mr. Douglas' position on the 
question (as he said) for granted, Mr. Brown declared that 
he wished to hear from other Democratic senators from the 
free States, and to know whether they would vote to protect 
the rights of slaveholders in the Territories. No one rising 
for several minutes after, Mr. Brown concluded his remarks, 
and the Senate being about to proceed to the consideration 
of other subjects, Mr. Douglas arose and observed that if no 
other northern Democratic senator desired to be heard on the 
points presented by the senator from Mississippi, he craved 
the attention of the Senate for a while. He thanked Mr. 
Brown for taking his position for granted on the question pre- 
sented to the other northern Democrats. He had yet to know 
that there was one Democrat in the free States who would 
vote to protect slavery in the Territories by Congressional 
enactment against the popular decision. In this speech he shows 
that all property in the Territories, including slaves, is, and 
must be, subject to the local law of the Territorial legislature : 
that the Territorial legislature has the same power over 
graves in the Territory, as it has over all other property ; and 


no more : he explains his Freeport speech ; reminds the Sen- 
ate that his past record shows that he would never vote for 
a Congressional slave code for the Territories ; shows the 
absurdity of such a code ; and demonstrates that if the peo- 
ple of a Territory want slavery there, they will enact laws for 
.ts protection : he shows that it was the intent of the Ne' 
braska Bill to confer on the Territorial legislature all the 
power that Congress possessed on the subject of slavery, to 
let them wield it as the people of the Territory chose : he 
elucidates the truly equitable and just provisions of that bill, 
and shows that it expressly forbids the enactment of a Con- 
gressional slave code for the Territories. 
In the course of his remarks he said : 

The senator from Mississippi and myself agree that under the de- 
cision of the Supreme Court, slaves are property, standing on an 
equal footing with all other property ; and that consequently, the 
owner of slaves has the same right to carry his slave with him to a 
Territory, as the owner of any other species of property has to carry 
his property there. The right of transit to and fi-om the Territories 
is the same for one species of property as it is for all others. Thus 
far the senator from Mississippi and myself agree — that slave pro- 
perty in the Territories stands on an equal footing with every other 
species of property. Now, the question arises, to what extent is pro- 
perty, slaves included, subject to the local law of the Territory ? 
Whatever power the Territorial legislature has over other species 
of property, extends, in my judgment, to the same extent, and in like 
manner, to slave property. The Territorial legislature has the 
same power to legislate in respect to slaves, that it has in regard to 
any other property, to the same extent, and no further. If the sena- 
tor wishes to know what power it has over slaves in the Territories, 
I answer, let him tell me what power it has to legislate over every 
other species of property, either by encouragement or by taxation, or 
in any other mode, and he has my answer in regard to slave property. 

But the senator says that there is something peculiar in slave pro- 
perty, requiring further protection than other species of property. 
If so, it is the misfortune of those who own that species of property. 
He tells us that, if the Territorial legislature fails to pass a slave 
code for the Territories, fails to pass police regulations to protect 
slave property, the absence of such legislation practically excludes 
slave property as effectually as a constitutional prohibition would 
exclude it. I agree to that proposition. He says, furthermore, that 
it is competent for the Territorial legislature, by the exercise of th« 


taxing power, and other fanctions within the limits of the Consiitu 
tion, to adopt unfriendly legislation which practically drives slavery 
out of the Territory. I agree to that proposition. That is just w hat 
I said, and all I said, and just wliat I meant hy my Freeport speech 
in Illinois, upon which there has been so much comment throiaghout 
the country. 

The senator from Mississippi says they ought to pass such a code ; 
but he admits that it is immaterial to inquire whether they ought or 
ought not to do it ; for if they do not want it, they will not enact 
it ; and if they do not do it, there is no mode by which you can com- 
pel them to do it. He admits there is no compulsory means by 
which you can coerce the Territorial legislature to pass such a law ; 
and for that reason he insisti that, in case of non-action by the Ter- 
ritorial legislature, it is the right and duty of southern senators and 
representatives to demand affirmative action by Congress in the en- 
actment of a slave code for the Territories. He says that it is not 
necessary to put the question to me, whether I would vote for a Con- 
gressional slave code. He desire to know of all other northern De- 
mocrats what they will do ; he does not wish an answer from me. 
I am much obliged to him for taking it for granted, from my past 
record, that I never would vote for a slave code in the Territories by 
Congress ; and I have yet to learn that there is a man in a free State 
of this Union, of any party, who would. 

The senator from Mississippi defined it very well in his speech. 
His position was, that while the Constitution gave him the right of 
protection in a Territory for his slave property, it did not, of it- 
self, furnish adequate protection. He drew a distinction between 
the right and the fact, and said that the protection could only be 
furnished by legislation; that legislation could only come from one 
of two sources — the Territorial legislature or the Congress of the 
United States. He would look to the Territorial legislature in 
the first instance. If he got adequate legislation there, he was con- 
tent; but if the Territorial legislature failed to act, and give him 
that adequate legislation, in the form of what is commonly called a 
slave code, such non-action was equivalent to a denial of his rights ; 
and, losing his rights, it was no consolation to him that he had been 
deprived of them by the non-action of a Territorial legislature ; 
and hence he would demand of Congress the passage of laws to 
protect his slaves, and to punish men for running them oif; to fur- 
nish such remedies for the violation of his rights as he thought he 
was entitled to from the Territorial legislature. He said he would 
demand this from Congress. He further said that he would base 
his demand on Congress to pass this slave code on the ground that 
iiie Territorial legislature was the creature of Congress; and, if it 
did not do its duty. Congress should pass such laws as were neces- 
Hary to protect slave property in the Territories. 

^11 I have to say, on the point presented by the senator from Mis- 


wuri, is thh : while our Constitution does not provide remedict for 
•tealiug negroes, it does not provide remedies for stealing dry-g(„ods, 
or horses, or any other species of property. You cannot protect any 
property in the Territories, witliout laws furnishing remedies for its 
violation, and penalties for its abuse. Nobody pretends that you are 
(roing to pass laws of Congress making a criminal code for the Terri- 
tories, with reference to other species of property. The Congress of 
the United States never yet passed an act creating a criminal code for 
any organized Territory. it simply organizes the Territory, and 
leaves its legislature to make its own criminal code. Congress never 
passed a law to protect any species of property in the organized Ter- 
ritories ; it leaves its protection to the Territorial Legislatures. Tiie 
question is, whether we shall make an exception as to slavery ? The 
Supreme C(mrt makes no sucli distinction. It recognizes slaves as 
property. When they are taken to a Territory, they are on an equal 
footing with other property, and dependent upon tlie same system of 
legislaticm, for protection, as other property. While all other pro- 
perty is dependent on the Territorial legislation for protection, I hold 
Uiat slave property must look to the same autliority for its pro- 


I leave all kinds of property, slaves included, to the local law fol 
protection; and I will not exert the power of Congi-ess to inter- 
fere with that local law with reference to shive ])ropeity, or any otlier 
kind of property. If tlie people think that particular laws on the 
subject of property are beneficial to their interests, tliey will enact 
them. If they do not think such laws are wi~e, they will retrain 
from enacting them. They will protect slaves there, provided they 
want slavery ; and they will want slavery, if the climate be such that 
the white man cannot cultivate the soil, so as to render negro com- 
pulsory labor necessary. Hence, it becomes a question of climate, of 
production, of seli-interest, and not a question of legislation, whether 
slavery shall, or shall not exist there. 

But ti'.e senator from Mississi])pi says he has a right to protection. 
The owner of every other species of property may say he lias a right 
to protection. The man dealing in liquors may tiiink that, inasmuch 
as liis stock of liquors is property, he has a right to pi-otection. The 
man dealing in an inferior breed of cattle, may think he has a rij^ht 
to protection; but the people of the Territory may think it is their 
interest to improve the breed of stock by discrimination against infe- 
rior breeds ; and hence they may fix a higher rate of taxation on the 
one than on the other. 

I am willing to test this question by the illustration the senator 
presents of a Maine liquor law. 1 shall not stop to inquire whether 
the Maine liquor law is constitutional or not; first, because Congress 
\8 not the tribunal to decide it; and secondly, l»ecause, by the platforna 


to which the senator from Mississippi and myself both stand ple43ged 
as the rule for our political action, it is provided that that question 
shall be sent to the court to test tlie constitutionality of the law, an< 
we shall not come to Congress to repeal the law. When the Ne- 
braska Bill was first pending in the Senate, it contained the old clause 
that the Territorial laws should be sent here, and, if disapproved by 
Congress, should be void. The discussion proceeded on the basis 
that we were conferring the whole power of legislation on the Terri- 
tory, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, with the 
right in tlie Territorial legislature "• to foi-m and regulate their domes- 
tic institutions in their own way ;" and that if any man was aggrieved 
by such legislation, he should have a right to appeal to the Supreme 
Court of the United States to test its validity, but should not come 
to Congress to repeal the obnoxious law. "When that argument was 
made, a distisguished senator from Ohio, not now here (Mr. Chase), 
asked us v/hy we kept tliat clause in the bill requiring tlie laws of the 
Territory to be sent here for approval or disapproval. We could not 
answer the inquiry, and hence we struck out the provision requiring 
the Territorial laws to be sent here for approval or disapproval, upon 
the avowed ground, at the time, that the Territorial legislature might 
pass just such laws as they wanted, with the right of appeal by any 
one aggrieved to the Supreme Court to test their constitutionality, 
but not to Congress to annul them. I undertake to say that this was 
the distinct understanding among the northern and southern Demo- 
crats at that time, and among all the friends of the Kansas E"ebraska 
Bill. It was agreed, that while we might differ as to the extent of 
the power of the Territorial legislature on these questions, we would 
make a full grant of legislative authority to the legislature of the 
Territory, with the right to pass such laws as they chose, and the 
right of anybody to appeal to the court to decide upon the validity 
and constitutionality of such laws, but not to come to Congress for 
their annulment. Hence, if the Territorial legislature should pass 
the Maine liquor law, and anybody was dissatisfied with the provi- 
sions of that act, and thought it violated his constitutional right, he 
could not come to Congress for its annulment, but could appeal to 
the Supreme Court of the United States; and if that court decided 
the law to be constitutional, it must stand, no matter how obnoxious 
it might be to any portion of the American people. If it was uncon- 
stitutional, it became void without any interference by Congress, or 
any other legislative body. The Kansas Nebraska Bill was thus 
amended for the avowed purpose, at the time, of striking out the 
appeal to Congress, and substituting the appeal to the court 


Alter we bad g)ne that far, a senator from New HampabV^ 


pointed out in the Nebraska Bill the fact, that no ap])eal conld b'* 
taken to the Supreme Court of tlie United States unless tlie amount 
of property in controversy was $2,000 in value, and hence that a 
negro could not appeal for Ins freedom, nor could tlie owner of a 
single slave appeal to the Su[)renie Court to establish his title, if he 
thought that his rights were violated. In order to obviate that ob- 
jection, we amended the bill by providing that where the title ti 
property in slaves, or any question of personal freedom was the point 
in issue, the right of appeal to the Supreme Court should exist with 
out reference to the amount in controversy. 

Thus the Kansas Nebraska Bill stood, granting all rightful power 
of legislation on all subjects whatsoever to the Terrrtorial legislature, 
subject only to the Coiistitntion of the United States, provided they 
should not pass any law taxing the property of non-residents higher 
than that of residents, nor any law interfering with the primary dis- 
position of the soil, nor impose any tax on the property of the United 
States ; but there was no exception made as to slavery. The intent 
was to confer on the Territorial legislature all the power we had on 
the subject of slavery, to let them wield it for or against slavery 
a8 tlie people of the Territory chose; and the understanding 
was, that we would abide by whatever laws they might make, pro- 
vided they did not violate the C')nstitution of the United States; 
and the Supreme Court was the only tribunal that could decide that 


Now, sir, I stand on the Kansas-Nebraska Bill as it was expounded 
and understood at the time, with this full power in the Territorial 
legislature, with the right of appeal to the Supreme Court to test 
the validity of its laws, and no right whatever to appeal to Congress 
to repeal them in the event of our not liking them. I am ready to 
answer the inquiry of the senator from Mississippi, whether, if 1 
believed the Maine liquor law to be unconstitutional and wrong, 
and if a Territorial legislature should pass it, I would vote here to 
annul it? I tell him no. If the peoi)le of Kansas want a Maine 
liquor law, let them have it. If they do not want it, let them 
refuse to pass it. If they do pass it, and any citizen thinks that 
law violates the Constitution, let him make a case and appeal to 
the Supreme Court. If the court sustains his objection, the law is 
void. If it overrules the objection, the decision must stand until 
the people, who alone are to be aifected by it, who alone have an 
interest in it, may choose to repeal it. So I say with reference to 
slavery. Let the Territorial legislature pass just such laws in regard 
to slavery as they think they have a right to enact under the Consti- 
tution of the United States. If I do not like those laws, I will not 
Tot« to repeal them ; if you do not like them, yon must not vote to 


repeal them ; but anybody aggrieved may appeal to the Scpreme 
Court, and if they are con>titutional, tliey must stand ; if they are 
unconstitutional, they are void. That was the doctrine of non-inter- 
vention, as it was understood at the time tlie Kansas-Nebraska Bill 
was passed. That is tlie way it was explained and argued in the 
Senate, and in the House of Representatives, and before the country. 
It was distinctly understood that Congress was never to intervene for 
or against slavery, or for or against any other institution in the Ter- 
ritories; but leave the courts to decide all constitutional questions as 
they might arise, and the President to carry the decrees of the court 
into effect ; and, in case of resistance to his authority in executing 
the judicial process, let him use, if necessary, the whole military force 
of the country, as provided by existing laws. 


I know that some gentlemen do not like the doctrine of non-inter- 
vention as well as they once did. It is now becoming fashionable to 
talk sneeringly of "your doctrine of non-intei-vention." Sir, that 
doctrine has been a fundamental article in the Democratic creed for 
years. It has been repeated over and over again in every national 
Democratic platform — non-intervention by Congress with slavery in 
the States and Territories, Tiie Nebraska Bill was predicated on 
that idea — the Territorial legislature to have jurisdiction over all 
rightful subjects of legislation, not excepting slavery, with no appeal 
to Congress, but a right to appeal to the courts ; and the legislation 
to be void, if the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional; and 
valid, no matter how obnoxious, if the court said it was constitu- 
tional. Let me call attention to the language of the Kansas-Nebraska 
Bill. Its fourteentli section provides : 

" That the Constitution and all laws of the United States, which are not 
locally inapplicable, shall have the same force and effect in the said Territory 
of Nebraska as elsewhere within the United States, except the eighth sectioa 
of the act 'preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union,' approved 
March 6, 1820, which, being inconsistent with the principle of non-interven- 
noN BY Congress with slavery in the States and Territories, as recognized 
by the legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise measures, is hereby 
DECLARED INOPERATIVE and VOID; it being the true intent and meaning of this 
net not to legislate slavery into any State or Territory, nor to exclude it there- 
from, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulatb 


Tlius, in the Nebraska Bill, it is declared that a Congressional en- 
actment on the sulject of slaver}- was inconsistent with the principle 
of non-intervention by Congress witli slavery in the States and Ter- 
ritories. This same article of faith has gone into the various Dein(»- 
cratic platforms, and especially into the Cincinnati plaiforai. Every 


Democrat, therefore, is pledged, by Lis pliitform and the orgaiization 
t)f the party, against any legishition of Congress in the Territories for 
or against slavery, no matter how obnoxious the Territorial legisla- 
tion may bes If it is unconstitutional, you have your remedy ; go to 
the court and test the question. If it is constitutional, you agreed 
that the people of a Territory may have it. I hold you to the agree- 

The whole legislative power possessed by Congress over a Territory 
was, by that act, conferred on the Territorial legislature. Tiiere were 
exceptions on three points; but slavery was not one of the exceptions. 
I say, then, the intent was to give to the Territorial legislature all the 
power that we possessed ; all that could be given under the Constitu- 
tion; and the understanding was, that Congress would not Interfere 
with whatever legislation they might enact. 

Now, the senator from Alabama asks me whether the southern 
people, under the Constitution, have not the right to carry their 
tilaves there ? I answer, yes — the same right that you have to carry 
any other property. Then you ask, have they not a right to hold it 
there when they get it there? I answer, the same right that you 
liave to hold any other property, subject to such local laws as the 
local legislature may constitutionally enact. Can you hold any other 
property witiiout law to protect it? No. Then, can you hold slave 
property witliout law to protect it? No, is the answer. Tiien, will 
Congress pass laws to protect other property in the Territories ? I 
answer, no. We have created Territorial legislatures for that fur- 
pcse. We agreed that this government should not violate the princi- 
ples of our Revolution, by making laws for a distant people, regulat- 
ing their domestic concerns and affecting their rights of property, 
without giving them a representation. The doctrine that Congress 
is to regulate the rights of person and property, and the domestic 
concerns of a Territory, is the doctrine of the Tories of the Revolu- 
tion. It is the doctrine of George III., and Lord North, his minister. 
Our fathers then said that they would not consent that the British 
parliament should pass laws touching the local and domestic concerns 
of the colonies, the rights of person and property, the family relations 
of the people of the colonies, without their consent. The parliament 
of Great Britain f-aid they had the power. We said to them, "you 
may have the power, but you have not the moral right', it is viola- 
tive of the great princi|)les of civil liberty ; violative of the rights of 
an Englishman, not to he affected in his property without his consent 
is given tlirough his representatives." Because Great Britain insi-ted 
cm exercisiuii that identical power over these colonies, our fathers 
flew to arms, asserted tlie doctrine that every colony, every depen- 
dency, every Territory, had a right in its own domestic legislature to 
pass just such laws as its people chose touching their local and do- 
mestic concerns, recognizing the right of tlie imperial parliament to 
regulate imperial affairs, as I do the right ot Congress to regulate th« 
national and federal concerns of the people of a Territory. 


Sir I am asserting, on belialf the people of the Territories, just 
those rights which our fathers demanded for themselves against the 
claim of Grreat Britain. Because those rights were not granted to 
our fathers, tiiey went through a bloody war of seven years. Am I 
now to be called upon to enforce that same odious doctrine on the 
people of a Territory, against their consent? I say, no. Organize a 
Territorial government f(.>r them ; give them a legislature, to be 
elected by their own people ; give them all the powers of legislation 
on all questions of a local and domestic character, subject only to the 
Conslitution ; and if they make good laws, let them enjoy their bless- 
ings ; and if they make bad laws, let them suffer under tliem until 
they repeal them. If the laws are unconstitutional, let those aggrieved 
appeal to the court — the tribunal created by the Constitution to as- 
eertain that fict. That is the principle on which we stood in 
1854. It was on that principle and that understanding we fought the 
great political battle and gained the great victory of 1856. How 
many votes do you think Mr. Buchanan would have obtained in Penn- 
sylvania if he had then said that the Constitution of the United 
States plants slavery in all the Territories, and makes it the duty of 
the Federal Government to keep it there and maintain it at the point 
of the bayonet and by federal laws, in opposition to the will of the 
people? How many votes would he have received in Ohio, or any 
other free State, on such a platform ? Mr. Buchanan did not then 
understand the doctrines of popular sovereignty and self-government 
ill that way. 

I assert that m 1856, during the whole of that campaign, I took 
the same position I do now, and none other ; and I will show that 
Mr. Buchanan pledged himself to the same doctrine when he accepted 
the nomination of the Cincinnati Convention. In his letter of accept- 
ance, he says, referring to the Kansas Nebraska Act: 

"The recent legislation of Congress, respecting domestic slavery, derived, 
as it has been, from the original and pure fountain of legitimate political 
power, the will of the majority, promises ere long to allay the dangoroua 
excitement. This legislation is founded upon principles as ancient as free 
government itself, and, in accordance with them, has simply declared that the 
people of a Territory, like those of a State, shall decide for themselves whether 
slavery shall oi shall not exist within their limits." 

This extract from Mr. Buchanan's letter, shows that he then under- 
stood that the people of a Territory^ liJce those of a State, should 
decide for themselves whether slavery should or should not exist 
within their limits. I undertake to say, that wherever I went that 
year, his cause wss advocated on that principle, as laid down in his 
letter of acceptance. The people of the North, at least, certainly 
understood him to hold the doctrine of self-government in Terri- 
tories as well as in Stites, and as applicable to slave property as well 
as to all other species of property. I undertake to say, that he 
would not have carried one-half the Democratic vote in any free 
State, if he had not been thus understood ; and I hope my friend 


from Mississippi had no allusion to this letter, when he said that in 
tlie next contest he did not desire " to cheat nor be cheated." I am 
glad that the senator from Mississippi means to have a clear, unequi- 
vocal, specific statement of our principles, so that there shjJl be no 
cheating on either side. I intend to use language which can be 
repeated in Chicago as well as in ISTeAV Orleans, in Charleston the 
same as in Boston. We live under a common Constitution. No 
political creed is sound or safe which cannot be proclaimed in the 
same sense wherever the American flag waves over American soil. 
If the North and the South cannot come to a common grouna on .he 
slavery question, the sooner we know it the hetter. The Democracy 
of the North hold, at least, that the people of a Territory have the 
same right to legislate in respect to slavery, as to all other property ; 
and that, practically, it results in this : if they want slavery, they 
will have it; and if they do not want it, it shall not be forced upon 
them by an act of Congress. The senator frora Mississippi says that 
doctrine is right, unless we pass an act of Congress compelling the 
people of a Territory to have slavery whether they want it or not. 
The point he wishes to arrive at, is whether we are for or against 
Congressional intervention. If you repudiate the doctrine of non- 
intervention, and form a slave code by act of Congress, when the 
people of a Territory refuse it, you must step off the Democratic plat- 
form. "We win let you depart in peace, as you no longer belong to 
us ; you are no longer of us when you adopt the principle of Con- 
gressional intervention, in violation of the Democratic creed. I stand 
here defending the great principle of non-intervention by Congress, 
and self-government by the people of the Territories. That is tlie 
Democratic creed. The Democracy in the northern States have so 
understood it. No northern Democratic State ever would have 
voted for Mr. Buchanan, but for the fact that he was understood to 
occupy that position. 

Gentl-emen of the southern States, I tell you in all candor that I 
do not believe a Democratic candidate can ever carry any one 
northern Democratic State on the platform that it is the duty of the 
Federal Government to force the people of a Territory to have slavery 
when they do not want it. But if the true principles of State rights 
and popular sovereignty be maintained and carried out in good faith, 
as set forth in the Nebraska Bill, ar d as understood b j the peoplg io 
1856, a glorious future awaits the I temocracy. 

168 iTaPHEN A. I>Ot.rGLAfi 



Le^rs to Dorr and Peyton — Speeches in Ohio, and Uii/cinnati Platform- 
Charleston Convention — Presidental Aspirants — The Harper Article — 
Black's Reply — Appendix of Attorney General- — Rejoinder of Senator 
Douglas — The Chase and Trumbull Amendments — Consistency of Sena 
tor Douglas. 

During the spring and summer of 1859, Mr. Douglas 
received many letters from his personal friends, soliciting the 
use of his name as a candidate for the Presidency before the 
Charleston Convention, to one of which he replied as fol- 

Washington, Wednesday, June 24, 1869. 

My dear Sik : I have received your letter inquiring whether my friends 
are at liberty to present my name in the Charleston Convention for the 
Presidential nomination. 

Before the question can be finally determined, it will be necessary to 
understand distinctly upon what issue the canvass is to be condccted. If, 
as I have full faith they will, the Democratic party shall determine, in the 
Presidential election of 1860, to adhere to the principles emijodied in the 
Compromise measures of 1850, and ratified by the people in the Presi- 
dential election of 1852, and re-affirmed in the Kansas-Nebraaka Act of 
1854, and incorporated into the Cincinnati platform in 1850, as expounded 
by Mr. Buchanan in his letter accepting the nomination, and approved by 
the people — in that event my friends will be at liberty to present my 
name to the Convention, if they see proper to do so. If, on the contrary, 
it shall become the policy of tne Democratic party — which I cannot anti- 
cipate — to repudiate these, their time-honored principles, on which we 
have achieved so many patriotic triumphs, and if, in lieu of them, the 
Convention shall interpolate nto the creed of the party such new issues 


as the reviFal of the African slave-trade, or a Congre^.iional slave code for 

the Territories, or the doctrine that the Constitution of tha United States 

either establishes or prohibits slavery in the Territories, beyond the 

power of the people legally to control it as other property, it is due t(j 

candor to say that, in such an ev€nt, I could not accept the nomination 11 

tendered to me. Trusting that this answer will be deemed sufEcientl]' 

xplicit, I am, very respectfully, your friend, 

S. A. Douglas. 
To J. B. DoKK, Esq., Dubuque, Iowa. 

The publication of this letter produced immense enthu- 
siasm among Mr. Douglas' friends all over the country, and 
particularly throughout the Northwest, and was followed 
by a pressing invitation from the Democratic State Centra' 
Committee of Ohio to visit that State and address the peopk 
in their pending canvass. In consequence of the ill-health o 
Mr. Douglas and his family, he was only able to make three 
speeches in Ohio — at Columbus, Cincinnati and Wooster, ir 
each of which places the Democracy made immense gains at 
the fall election, averaging one thousand votes in each 
county. He was met in Cincinnati by large numbers o> 
Democrats from Kentucky, Indiana, and other adjacent 
States, and wherever he went was greeted with the wildest 

We omit to insert extracts from these speeches, which arf 
among the ablest and best of his poUtical life, for the reasor 
that they relate chiefly to the line of argument which har 
been so fully illustrated in the previous pages of this work 
These speeches appeared in the columns of the New York 
press the morning after their delivery, having been deemed 
of sufiicient consequence to be telegraphed entire. A marked 
feature of these addresses was his solemn protest against the 
mcorporation of any new tests of faith into the Democratic 
creed which would tend to divide and defeat the party 
bsistiug upon " the re-adoption of the Cincinnati platforn? 
without the addition of a word or the subtraction of a letter.' 



In the September (1859) number of "Haiper's Magazme," 
Mr. Douglas published over his own name, an article entitled 
" Popular Sovereignty in the Territories : The Dividing 
Line between Federal and Local Authority." This article 
was read with avidity by the public, and for some days after 
its appearance, nothing else was talked of in political circles. 
It is a clear elucidation of the line that divides the authority 
of the Federal Government from that of local authorities ; and 
of the great principle that every distinct political community, 
loyal to the Constitution and the Union, is entitled to all the 
rights, privileges, and immunities of self-government in 
respect to their local concerns and internal polity, subject 
only to the Constitution of the United States. He exposes 
the erroneous views entertained by the "Republican" party 
on these points : shows that the courts in a Territory derive 
all their powers from the Territorial legislature : that all 
powers conferred on Congress by the Constitution, must be 
exercised by Congress in the manner prescribed in the Con- 
stitution ; but that Congress may establish local governments, 
and invest them with powers which Congress itself cannot 
constitutionally exercise. 

He shows by the records of the provincial legislature of 
Virginia, that in 1'7'72, the Virginians were unwilling to have 
slavery forced upon them : that in 1776, the inhuman use of 
the royal negative, in refusing the colony of Virginia per- 
mission to exclude slavery from her limits by law, was one 
of the reasons for separating from Great Britain: and that in 
all the thirteen colonies, slavery was regarded as a domestic 
question, to be considered and determined by each colony to 
suit itself, without the intervention of the British parliament. 
He J roves that the principle of popular sovereignty was al 


the very foundation of the causes that led to the Revolution : 
showing that the patriots of 1116 fought for the inalienable 
right of local self-government, with the clear understanding 
that when the despotism of the British parliament was 
thrown off, no Congressional despotism was to be substituted 
for it. 

He proves by a citation of Jefferson's plan for the govern- 
ment of the first Territory ever OAvned by the United States, 
that by it, the right of Congress to bind the people of the 
Territories w^ithout their consent was emphatically ignored ; 
and the people therein recognized as the source of all local 
power : that in forming the Constitution of the United States 
in 1787, the Convention took the British constitution for 
their model, conferring upon the Federal Government the 
same powers which, as colonies, they had been Avilling to 
concede to the British government, and reserving to the 
States and to the people, the rights for which the Revolution 
had been fought. He shows that the clause in the Constitu- 
tion which giv«s to Congress " power to dispose of, and 
make all needful rules and regulations for the Territory " — 
refers exclusively to property, in contradistinction to persons 
and communities ; but does not authorize Congress to inter- 
pose or interfere with the internal polity of the people who 
may reside upon lands which the United States once owned. 

He alludes to the erroneous views that have been put forth 
in regard to the Dred Scott case ; and shows that the slavery 
question was not included in the class of prohibited powers 
to which the Constitution alluded. He describes the steps 
by which the Compromise measures of 1850 were formed, 
and the principles on which they were based ; and shows that 
they are the same principles uj^on which the Nebraska Bill of 
1854 was formed. 

We give a few extracts from the article, which poswsses 
n permanent historical value, in the Appendix to this w-rrrk. 


The appearance of the Harper article caused, as has been 
fitated, the most profound sensation in political circles. 

The exposition of the question produced consternation 
and dismay m the camp of the assailants of Judge Douglas. 
Their hope was to secure the confidence and favor of th# 
outh by conceding their right to plant slavery in the Terri 
^ories in opposition to the wishes of the people, and in de 
fiance of the Territorial authorities ; and at the same time, 
satisfy the North by withholding all legislative protection 
and judicial remedies, without which the right becomes a 
naked, useless, worthless possession. The exposure of Mr. 
Douglas opened their eyes to the dangers of their perilous 
position, and made it obvious, even to their comprehension, 
that they could no longer successfully maintain the ground 
they then occupied. Afraid to advance and pursue their 
doctrines to their logical consequences, and ashamed to re- 
treat and return to the impregnable position of popular 
sovereignty, which they had so recently abandoned, they 
began to look about for some new expedient to relieve 
themselves from the awkward dilemma into which they had 
been driven by one short article in " Harper's Magazine." 
Accordingly Judge Black was deputed to frame an answer to 
the masterly paper of Mr. Douglas. 

The attorney-general's reply to the Harper article ap- 
peared in the " Washington Constitution," the central organ 
of the assailants of Judge Douglas, in October. A few days 
after, Mr. Douglas made a speech at Vfooster, in which he 
replied to the pamphlet of the attorney-general. The latter 
functionary published an appendix to his former article, and 
on the 17th of November, Mr. Douglas published a rejoin- 
der, from which we make the following extracts : 

lu my reply to Judge Black T produced and quoted the decisioni 
.of the Supreme Court of the United States, in which fhe following 


(>ropo8ition«> were solemnly and authoritatively established aa the 
aw of the land : 

Ist. That the stat^ of slavery is a mere municipal regulation, 
founded upon and limited to tlie range of Territorial laws, 

2d. That the laws of one State or country can have no force oi 
eflfect in another without its consent^ express or implied. 

3d. That, in the absence of any positive rule upon the subject, 
aflSrming or denying or restraining the operation of the foreign law 
or laws of one State or country in their application to another, the 
courts will presume the tacit adoption of them by the government 
of the place where they are sought to be enforced, unless they are 
repugnant to its policy, or prejudicial to its interests. 

The attorney-general neither admits nor denies the correctness 
of these propositions, nor does he either admit or deny that the 
courts have so decided. To admit their correctness would necessarily 
involve an abandonment of his position and a confession that he had 
been wrong from the beginning. To deny them would bring him ip 
direct conflict with the authority of the court and expose him to an 
inevitable conviction by the record. 

Judge Black has not attempted to reconcile his opinion with the 
decision of the court. No man in his senses can fail to perceive that 
if the court is right, Judge Black is inevitably wrong. Although the 
whole legal controversy between Judge Black and myself turns on 
this one point, I did not choose, in my reply, to offset my individual 
opinion against his, or to bring the two into comparison. As the 
question at issue could only be determined by authority, I said : 

" Of course I express no opinion of my own, since I make it a rule to acqui- 
5sce in the decisions of the courts upon all legal questions." 

And again, in concluding what I had to say on the legal points al 
issue, I added : 

" In all that I have said, I have been content to assume the law to be as de- 
cided by the Supreme Court of the United States, without presuming that mj 
individual opinion would either strengthen or invalidate their decisions." 

If Judge Black could reconcile it with his dignity and sense of 
duty to act on the same assumption, there could be no controversy 
between him and me in regard to the law of the case. According 
to the doctrine of the court, a white man, with a negro vfUe and 
mulatto children, under a marriage lawful in Massachusetts, on re- 
moval into a Territory, could not maintain that interesting "private 
relation,'' under the laws of Massachusetts, without the consent or 
tacit adoption of the Massachusetts law by the Territorial govern- 
ment. On the contrary, if Judge Black's view of the axiomatic prin- 


ciple of public law be correct, this disgusting and demoralizing system 
of amalj-amation may be introduced and maintained in the Territories; 
under the law of Massachusetts, in defiance of the wishes of the 
people and in contempt of all Territorial authority, until " they get a 
constitutional convention or the machinery of a State government in 
their hands." It is true that Judge Black limits this right to those 
places where there is no law "in direct conflict with it ;" but he also 
says in the same pamphlet that the Territories " have no attribute ol 
sovereignty abouv them," and, therefore, are incapable of making 
any law in conflict with this "private relation" which is lawful in 

According to the doctrine of the court, a Turk, with thirteen 
wives, under a marriage lawful in his own country, could not move 
into the Territories of the United States with his family and main- 
tain his marital rights under the laws of Turkey without the consent 
or tacit adoption of the Turkish law by the Territorial government. 

In accordance with the Black doctrine (I use tlie term for conve- 
nience and with entire respect), polygamy may be introduced into 
all the territories, maintained under tlie laws of Turkey, " until the 
people of the Territory get a constitutional convention or the ma- 
chinery of a State government into their hands," with competent 
authority to make laws in conflict with this " private relation." 

According to the doctrine of the court, the peddler with his 
clocks, the liquor-dealer with his whiskies, the merchant with his 
goods, and the master with his slaves, on removal to a Territory, can- 
not hold, protect, or sell their property under the laws of the 
States whence they came, respectively, without the consent or tacit 
adoption of those laws by the Territorial government. 

According to the Black doctrine, however, any one person, black 
or white, from any State of the Union, and from any country upon 
the globe, may remove into the Territories of the United States, and 
carry with him the law of the State or country whence became, for 
the protection of any " right of property, private relation, condition, 
or status, lawfully existing in siicli State or country," without the 
consent and in defiance of the authority of the Territorial govern- 
ment, and maintain the same " until they get a constitutional con- 
vention or the machinery of a State government into their hands." 

This is the distinct issue between Judge Black and the Supreme 
Court of the United States. It is not an issue between tlie attor- 
ney-general and myself, for in the beginning of the controversy I 
announced my purpose " to assume the law to be as decided by the 
court, without presuming that my individual opinion would either 
strengthen or invalidate their decisions." 

But if it be true, as contended by Judge Black, that the Territorial 
cannot legislate upon the subject or slavery, or any other right of 
property, private relation, condition, or status^ lawfully existing is 


ftiiocher State or country, it uecessaril/ results that the Terrilo ^al le 
gislature cannot adopt the laws of other States or countries for tha 
protection of such riglits and institutions, and consequently that the 
courts cannot presume the tacit adoption of such laws by the Territo- 
rial govei'ument in the absence of any power to adopt thera. Here, 
again, we see that the doctrine of Judge Black, if it does not con- 
clusively establish a right without the possibility of a remedy, la 
certainly equivalent to tlie Wilmot Proviso in its practical results, so 
far as the institution of slavery is concerned. I demonstrated this 
proposition to him in my " reply " so conclusively that he did not 
venture to deny it, mtich less attempt to answer the argument in hi>» 
" rejoinder." 

I do not deem it necessary to notice in detail the many strango 
and unaccountable misrepresentations in his " rejoinder " of the mat- 
ters of fact and law set forth in my "reply," to which he was pro- 
fessing to respond. One or two instances will suffice as specimens 
of the manner in which the attorney -general is in the habit of dis- 
posing of authorities which stand as insuperable obstacles in the path 
of his argument. In my " reply " I quoted the following paragraph 
from Judge Story's "Conflict of Laws," to show that he, at least, 
thought the law was precisely the reverse of what Judge Black sup- 
posed it to be : 

" There is a uniformity of opinion among foreign jurists and foreign tribunals 
in giving no effect to the state of slavery of a party, wlia^ever it maj' have beeo 
in the country of his birth, or that in which he had been previously domiciled 
unless it is also recognized by the laws of the country of his actual domicil, ant 
where he is found, and it is sought to be enforced. [After citing various au 
thorities, Judge Story proceeds :] In Scotland the like doctrine has been 
solemly adjudged. The tribunals of France have adopted the same rule, even 
in relation to slaves coming from and belonging to their own colonies. This la 
also the undisputed law of England." 

i^'ow for Judge Black's reply to these passages from Judge Story : 
" These passages (will the reader believe it ?) merely show that a 
slave becomes free when taken to a country where slavery is not 
TOLEEATED iy law .'" Substituting the words " not tolerated by law " 
for the words "unless it is also recognized by law," Judge Black 
reverses Judge Story's meaning, and makes that learned jurist declare 
the law to be precisely the reverse of what Judge Story stated it to 
be! " Will the reader ielieve itf'' jSTot content with changing the 
language and reversing the meaning, and citing it, in its altered form, 
as evidence that I had misapplied the quotation, the attorney-gen- 
eral has the audacity to exclaim in parenthesis, for the purpose of 
giving greater emphasis to his allegation, " will the reader believe 
it?" Judge Black cannot avoid the responsibility which justly 
attaches to such conduct by the pretence that slavery was prohibited 
by law in Scotland, England and France, for the reason that the 
reports of the cases show that the laws of those countries y^Qve silent 
apon the subject, and that tiie decisions w^re made upon the dlMind 


ground that there was no law recognizing slavery, and not \\\iOTi th« 

ground that it was prohibited by law. 

* * * * * * * 

I will now devote a few words to a more pleasing and agreeable 
duty, by presenting to the public some of the beneficial results of 
thia discussion. The attorney-general has been forced, by the exi- 
gencies of the controversy, step by step and with extreme reluctance, 
to make several important confessions, which necessarily involve an 
abandonment, on the part of his clients, of various pernicious heresies 
W ith which the country has been threatened for tlie last two years. 

First^ that slavery exists in the Territo7'ies 5y virtue of the Consti- 
tution of the United States. . . . Hence, we find on the second 
page of Judge Black's pamphlet these emphatic words : " The Con- 
stitution certainly does not establish slavery in the Territories or any- 
vohere else. Nobody in this country ever thought or said so.'''' 

This confession is ample reward for all the labor that the article in 
"Harper's Magazine" cost me, protesting, however, that I am ac- 
quainted with no rule of Christian morality which justifies gentlemen 
in saying " that nobody in this country ever thought or said so,'' in 
the face of Mr. Buchanan's Silliman letter and Lecompton message. 
This confession is presumed to have the sanction of the President 
and his cabinet, and therefore may be justly regarded as an official 
and authoritative abandonment of the pernicious heresy with which 
the country has been irritated for the last two years, that slavery 
exists in the Territories by virtue of the Constitution of the Urdted 


* * ^ * * % * 

Another political heresy, which is in substance, although not in 
terms, abandoned in Judge Black's rejoinder, is '•'•that the Territoriei 
have no attribute of sovereignty about them.'''' 

It will be recollected that in my Harper article I drew a parallel 
between our Territories and the American Colonies, and showed 
that each possessed the exclusive power of legislation in respect to 
their internal polity ; tliat, according to our American theory, in 
contradistinction to the European theory, this right of self-govern- 
ment was not derived from the monarch or government, but was 
inherent in the people. 

* * H« * * * * 

_ In reply. Judge Black argued that this claim involved the posses- 
sion of sovereignty by the people of the Territories ; that " they have 
no attribute of sovereignty about them ;" that "they are public cor- 
porations established by Congress to manage the local afi:airs of the 
inhabitants, like the government of a city established by a State le- 
gislature;" that "there is probably no city in the United States 
whose powers are not larger than those of a federal Territory ;" and 
in fact, adopting the Tory doctrine of the Revolution, that all political 
power is derived from the crown or government, and not inherent 
in the people. 


In /ly reply T showed that the people of the Territories do pass 
laws for the protection of life, liberty and property, and, in pursuance 
of those laws, do deprive the citizen of life, liberty and property, 
whenever the same become forfeited by crimes ; that they exercise 
the sovereign power of taxation over all private property witliin 
their limits, and divest the title for non-payment of taxes ; that they 
exercise the sovereign power of creating corporations, municipal, 
public and private ; that they possess '•'■ legislative power ''^ over " all 
rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Constitution and 
the organic act;" and I quoted the language of Chief Justice Mar- 
shall, in delivering the unanimous opinion of the Supreme Court, that 
'■'■ all legislative potcers appertain to sovereignty.'''' 

Now let us see with what bad grace and worse manners, and yet 
how completely the attorney -general backs down fromhis main po- 
tition, that the Territories "have no attribute of sovereignty about 
them :" 

" Every half-grown boy in the country who has given the usual amount of 
study to the English tongue, or who has occasionally looked into a dictionary, 
knows thfttthe sovereignty of a government consists in its uncontrollable right 
to exercise the highest power. But Mr. Douglas tries to clothe the Territories 
with the ' attributes of sovereignty,' not by proving the supremacy of their 
jurisdiction in any matter or thing whatsoever, but merely by showing that 
they may be, and some of them have been, authorized to legislate within cer- 
tain limits, to exercise the right of eminent domain, to lay and collect taxe^ foi 
territorial purposes, to deprive a citizen of life, liberty or property, as a pun- 
ishment for crime, and to create corporations. All this is true enough, but it 
does by no means follow that the provisional government of a Territory is, 
tiierefore, a sovereign in any sense of the word." 


So he surrenders at last. This discussion furnislies a single exam- 
ple of what, perseverance can accomplish. It has talcen a long time 
to drive the attorney-general into the admission that the people of 
a Territory are ch)thed witii tlie law-making powek; with tlie right 
''to legislate within certain limits" (that is to say, upon "all rigiit- 
ful subjects of legisUition consistent with the Constitution ") ; with 
"■ the right of eminent domain, t(j hiy and collect taxes for Territorial 
purposes, to deprive a citizen of life, liberty, and property, as a i)uu- 
vshment for crime, and to create coi-porations." 1 am not quite 
sure tliat "every lialf-grown bov in the country who has given tl^e 
Usual amount of study to the English tongue, or has occasionally 
looked into a dictionary," does know that tliese powers are all " attri 
butes of sovereignty;" but I am very confident that no re.-pectable 
court, jurist, or lawyer, "on this side of Cliina" (Judge Black alone 
excepted), ever ex[)osed tlieir ignorance by questioning it, mu'^li less 
had tlie audacity to deny it. Since the fact is admitted, tl'^t tlie 
Territories do posses;* and may riglitfully exercise tlio.-e "legislative 
powers " which are lecogniied throughout the civilized world «4>» *ivo 


very highest attributes of sovereignty — the power over life, libeity 
and property — I shall not waste time in disputing with the attorney' 
general about the name by which he chooses to call them. It la 
sufficient for ray purpose that I have at last forced him into the ad- 
mission that the law-making power over all rightful subjects of legis- 
lation appertaining to life, liberty, and property, resides in, and may 
be rightfully exercised by the Territories, subject only to the limita- 
tions of the Constitution. 

This brings to my notice another important confession in Judge 
Black's rejoinder, intimately connected with the preceding, which is: 
That it is an insult to the American people to suppose tha"^ 


This last confession, taken in connection with the previous admis- 
sion of the power, removes the last vestige of any substantial objec- 
tion to the doctrine of popular sovereignty in the Territories. Unable 
to make any plausible argument against it in theory and upon prin- 
ciple, as explained in " Harper's Magazine," Judge Black expended 
all the powers and energies of his intellect in his first pamphlet to 
render the doctrine odious and detestable upon the presumption of its 
probable practical results. He argued that it might result in " legis- 
lative robbery ;" that " they may take every kind of property in mere 
caprice, or for any purpose of lucre or malice, without process of law, 
and without providing for coicpensation ;" that " they may order the 
miners to give up every ounce of gold that has been dug at Pike's 
Peak ;" that they may " license a band of marauders to despoil the 
emigrants crossing the Territory." 

These were tlie arguments employed by the attorney-general, in 
the beginning of this controversy, to render the doctrine of popular 
sovereignty odious and detestable in the eyes of all honest men, and 
to prepare the minds of the people for the favorable reception of his 
new doctrine, that property in the Territories must be protected 
under the laws of the State whence the owner removed. Very soon, 
however, the lawyers began to amuse themselves and the public by 
exposing the folly and absurdity of the pretence that the Territo- 
rial courts could apply the judicial remedies prescribed by the 
legislature of Kentucky, or of any other State. Becoming ashamed 

)f his position. Judge Black wrote an appendix to his pamphlet, in 
•vhich he declared that while the "title which the owner acquired in 
the State " from whence he removed must be respected in the Terri- 
tory, " THE ABSURD INFERENCE whicli some persons have drawn from 

r is not true, that the master also takes with hiin the judicial eemb- 
iiiES which were furnished him at the place where his title was ac- 

juired," and that "the respective rights and obligations of the parties 

oust be protected and enforced by the law prevailing at the place 

cure they are supposed to be violated^ 

Hy this time it was my turn to reply, when I showed that his doc- 

«oe, if true, established a right wiTHOur a remedy, and if the 


fieople of the Territories could not be trusted in tlie management of 
tlieir own affiii'rs, and in the protection of life, liberty, and property, 
they could not he relied wpon to 'prox)ide the remedies! This reply 
was made in cood faith, and believed to be pertinent to tlie issua 
and fatal to his position. Instead of receiving it in good temper, 
obviating the force of it by fair argument, if it were possible for him 
to do so, he flies into a rage and denies that he " said that an emi- 
grant to a Territory had a riglat to his property without a remedy^^^ 
and that "ii is an insult to the American people to suppose that any 
community can ie organized within the limits of our Union who will 
tolerate such a state of things.''^ Listen to his patriotic indignation 
at the bare suggestion that the people of the Territories cannot be 
trusted to guard and protect the rights of property and provide the 
remedies : 

•' I never said that an immigrant to a Territory had a right to his property 
without a remedy ; but I admit that he must look for his remedy to the law of 
his new domicil. It is true that he takes his life, his limbs, his reputation, and 
his property, and with them he takes nothing but his naked right to keep them 
and enjoy them. He leaves the judicial remedies of his previous domicil behind 
him. It is also true that in a Territory just beginning to be settled, he may 
need remedies for the vindication of his rights above all things else. In hig 
new home there may be bands of base marauders, without conscience or the 
fear of God before their eyes, who are ready to rob and murder, and spare 
nothing that man or woman holds dear. In such a time it is quite possible to 
imagine an abolition legislature whose members owe their seats to Sharpe'a 
rifles and the money of the Emigration Aid Society. Very possibly a legisla- 
ture so chosen might employ itself in passing laws unfriendly to the rights of 
honest men and friendly to the business of the robber and the murderer. I 
concede this, and Mr. Douglas is entitled to all the comfort it affords him. 
But it is an insult to the American people to suppose, that any community can 
be organized within the limits of our Union, who will tolerate such a stato 
of things." 

"Why did Judge Black insu"/t the American people by supposing and 
assuming that they would do these things if left free to regulate their 
own internal polity and domestic affiurs in their own way? It was 
deemed a necessary expedient in order to render popular sovereignty 
and its advocates odious and detestable. Why then did he, in the 
course of the same discussion, turn round and say it was an insult to 
the American peo])le to suppose that the people of the Territories 
would do those things when allowed to regulate their own affairs in 
their own way? Tins, too, was in turn deemed a necessary expe- 
dient in order to avoid the horn of the dilemma into which lie had 
been fairly driven, and e^ca|)e the odium of an attempt to deceive the 
southern people, of which he had been lairly convicted of advocating 
a " right without a remedy.'''' 

To what desperate shifts will men resort or be driven when they 
deliberately abandon principle for expediency ? iSTo more striking 
or humiliating illustration of this truth was ever given than this con 
troversy presents. Each change of ground, every shifting of position 
haa been done as an expedient to avoid wliat at the time vras deemed 


a ■worse alternative. The ground on which Mr. Buchanan was elected, 
that "the people of a Territory, like those of a State, shall decide foi 
themselves whether slavery shall or shall not exist within their 
limits," was changed, and in lieu of it the position assumed that 
""slavery exists in the Territories by virtue of the Constitution," as 
an expedient to obtain the support of certain southern ultras and 
fire-eaters who had always opposed popular sovereignty, on the sup- 
position that without such support Mr. Buchanan's administration 
would be in a minority in the two houses of Congress. Tlie confes- 
sion that " the Constitution certainly does not establish slavery in 
the Territories, nor anywhere else," was made, and the position that 
slavery may be protected in the Territories under the laws of other 
States, assumed as an expedient to avoid the necessity of supporting 
a Congressional slave code. The confession that the people of the 
Territories may exercise legislative powers over all righful subjects 
of legislation, pertaining to life, liberty, and property, was made as 
an expedient to avoid the odium of advocating a right without a 
remedy, by showing tliat tlie Territorial legislatures might lawfully 
and rightfully pass all laws and prescribe all judicial remedies neces- 
sary for the protection of property of every description, slavery in- 
cluded. The declaration that it is an insult to the American people 
to suppose that the people of the Territories, when left free to ma- 
nage their own affairs in tlieir own way, would be guilty of " legisla- 
tive robbery," would confiscate private property, seize it in mere 
spite, etc., was deemed a necessary expedient for the purpose of 
proving that the people miglit safely be trusted to furnish the pro- 
tection and provide the remedies without which slaves could not be 
held and slave property protected in the Territories under the laws 

of other States. 

^ % -* * * * * 

Turning from Judge Black to Dr. Gwiu, it is but respectful to say a 
few words upon his letter, which illuminated the columns of the cen- 
tral organ of my assailants the day previous to Judge Black's rejoin- 
der. The identity of language, thought, and style, which pervades 
the two productions, while rejecting the idea that they could have 
been written with the same pen, furnishes conclusive evidence that 
great men will think ali'^e when in the same vein. For example- 

Dr. Gwin says: 

" The difference between Mr. Douglas and the Democratic partt, sus- 
tained by this decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, is this," 
etc., etc. 

Judge Black says : 

" The v>hole dispute (as far as it is a doctrinal dispute) between Hr. Douo- 
LAS and the Democratic party //cs substantially in these two propositions," etc., 

This coincideuce, without wearying the reader with other exam- 
ples, will suffice to show the unity of purpose and harmony of dosign 


with which my assailants pursue me. To separate "Mr. Douglas" 
from the "Democratic party " seems to be the patriotic end to which 
they all aim. They may as well make up their minds to believe, ii 
they have not already been convinced of the fact by the bitter experi- 
ence of the last two years, that the thing cannot ie done. I gave 
them notice, at the initial point of this crusade, that no man or set ol 
men on earth, save one, could separate me from the Democratic 
party; and as I was that one, and the only one who had the power, 
I did not intend to do it myself nor permit it to be done by others ! 

At this point (Nov. 7), Mr. Douglas was forced to stop 
writing by a seve reattack of iaflammatory rheumatism, which 
Boon prostrated him with a dangerous illness, from which he 
was not expected at one time to recover. In a moment of 
consciousness he directed the unfinished manuscript to be 
taken to the printer, with a note which concludes as follows : 

" I am too feeble, however, to add more. Here let the controversy 
close for the present, and perhaps for ever." 


We cannot close this chapter without referring to "the 
record " to which Mr. Douglas alludes in his brief " note " 
as wishing to corament on in reply to Mr. Gwin. It will 
be found in the " Congressional Globe " of the First 
Session of the thirty-third Congress, vol. xxviii. It com- 
pletely exposes the attempted trickery of the Chase amend- 
ment. It shows what the Senate regarded as the true 
meaning of that clause in the Kansas Nebraska Bill which 
left the people of the Territories perfectly free " to foivn and 
regulate their domestic institutions in their own way," and 
that that meaning was, in the language of Senator Badger, " an 
unrestricted and unreserved reference to the Territorial 
authorities or the people themselves to determine upon the 
question of slavery.'''' 

After the appearance of the Harper article, Mr. Gwin of 
California endeavored to produce the impression that neithol 


Mr. Douglas nor other senators understood, when the Kansas 
Nebraska Bill was before them, that the people of the Terri- 
tories could legislate on the subject of slavery during the 
Territorial condition ; and that had senators so understood 
the bill, it would have destroyed the measure ; and further, 
that Mr. Douglas, if he took a different view of the bill from 
that, acted in bad faith to the Senate and the country in not 
saying so " before the hill hecame a law.''"' 

The records of Congress show the very reverse of this to be 
the fact. The record shows that both Mr. Douglas and the 
Democratic as well as other senators understood the Kansas 
Nebraska Bill to mean that the people of the Territories, 
while in the Territorial condition, could legislate on slavery 
as on any other domestic affair. It shows, also, that both 
Mr. Chase's amendment and Mr. Trumbull's amendment 
were legislative tricks, gotten up for political effect outside 
of Congress. 

As the Kansas Nebraska Bill stood before Mr. Chase 
offered his amendment, it read : 

It being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate 
Blavory into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but 
to leave the people therein perfectly free to form and regulate their 
domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to tlie Constitu- 
tion of the United States. 

Mr. Chase's amendment proposed to add these words : 

Under which the people of the Territory, tlirough their-appropri- 
ate representatives, may, if they see fit, -prohibit the existence of sla- 
very therein. 

Mr. Chase made a brief speech in support of his amend 
ment, in the course of which he said : 

After I have obtained a vote upon this question, I shall want to 
know, and if no other senator shall do it, I will move amendments 
calculated to ascertain, wliether it be intended to give the principle 
of non-intervention asserted by tlie bill full scope. If it is to ba 
adopted, I want to see it adopted and fully carried out. 


Mb. PftATT said : Mr. President, the principle which t: e senator 
from Ohio adopts as the principle of his amendiaent, is that the ques- 
tion shall be left eiitiiely and exclusively to the people whether tiiey 
will prohibit slavery or not. Now, for the purpose of testing the sin- 
cerity of the senator, and for the purpose of deducing the principle of 
his amendment correctly, I propose to amend it by inserting after the 
word " prohibit " the words " or introduce," so that if my amend- 
ment be adopted, and the amendment of the senator from Ohio as so 
amended be introduced as part of the bill, the principle which he 
says he desires to have tested will be inserted in the bill — that the 
people of the Territories shall have power to prohibit or introduce 
slavery as they may see proper, I suppose the question will be taken 
on the amendment which I offer to the amendment. 

Mr. Sewaed. — Is an amendment to an amendment to an amend- 
ment in order ? 

Mr. Chase. — The amendment which I offered is an amendment to 
an amendment. 

Thk Presiding Officer. — The amendment of the senator from 
Maryland is not now in order. 

Mr. Pratt. — Perhaps the senator from Ohio will accept it. 

Mr. Chase, in the course of his reply, said : Now, sir, I desire to 
have the sense of the Senate on the question, whether the Territorial 
legislatures to which you propose to refer this great question — vital 
to the future destiny of the people who are to emigrate into these 
Territories — can, subject to the Constitution, protect themselves, if 
they see fit to do so, from slavery. The senator from Maryland, Mr. 
Pratt, has proposed an amendment to my amendment. I cannot 
accept it, but it will be entirely within the power of the Senate to 
agree to his if they see fit to do so. 

Mk. Shields. — If the honorable senator will permit, I will suggest 
to him, if he wishes to test that proposition, to put the converse as 
suggested by the honorable senator from Maryland, and then it will 
be a fair proposition. Let the senator from Ohio accept the amend- 
ment of the senator from Maryland for the purpose of testing the 

Me. Chase. — I was about to state why I could not accept the 
amendment of the senator from Maryland. I have no objection that 
the vote shall be taken on it, and it is probable that it would receive 
the sanction of a majority here, but with my views of the Constitu- 
tion, 1 cannot vote tor it. 1 do not believe that a Territorial legis- 
lature, tliougli it may have power to protect the people against 
slavery, is constitutionally competent to introduce it. 

Senator Badger, of North Carolina, took Mr. Chase in 
hand, and exposed the insincerity of the Ohio senator, and 
also told what was the true meaning of the bill. He said : 

Mr. President, I have understood, I find, correctly the purport oi 

184 THE Life and speeches ot 

the amendment offered by the honorable senator from Ohic The 
purposes of the amendment, and the effect of the amendment, if 
adopted by the Senate, and standing as it does, are clear and obvious. 
The effect of the amendment, and the design of the amendment, are 
to overrule and subvert the very proposition introduced into the Mil 
upon the motion of the chairman of the Committee on Territories, 
(Mr. Douglas.) Is not that clear ? The position, as it stands, vi an 
"Unrestricted and unreserved reference to the Territorial authorities, 
or the people themselves, to determine upon the question of slavery ; 
and, therefore, by the very terms, as well as by the obvious meaning 
and legal operations of that amendment (of Mr. Pratt), to enabi.k 


If, therefore, the amendment proposed by the senator from Ohio 
were appended to the bill in the connection in v^hich he introduces 
it, the necessary and inevitable effect of it would be to control and 
limit the language which the Senate had just put into the Mil, and to 
give it this construction, that though Congress leaves them to regu- 
late their own domestic institutions as they please, yet in regard to 
the subject matter of slavery, the power is confined to the exclusion or 
prohibition of it. I say this is both the legal effect and the manifest 
design of the amendment. The legal effect is obvious upon the 
statement ; the design is obvious upon the refusal of the gentleman 
to incorporate in his amendment what was siTggested by my honor- 
able friend from Maryland, the propriety and fairness of which were 
instantly seen by ray friend from Illinois (Mr. Shields.) 

I have no hesitation, therefore, in saying that I shall vote against 
the amendment of the senator from Ohio. The clause as it stands 
is ample. It submits the whole authority to the Territory to deter- 
mine for itself. That in my judgment is the place where it ought to 
be put. If the people of these Territories choose to exclude slavery, so 
far from considering it a wrong done to me or to my constituents^ 1 
thall not complain of it. It is their own business." 

The question being taken by yeas and nays on the amend- 
ment of Mr. Chase, it resulted yeas 10, nays 36. 

Yeas — Messrs. Chase, Dodge of Wis., Fessenden, Fish, Foote, 
Hamlin, Seward, Smith, Sumner and Wade — 10. 

Nats — Messrs. Adams, Atchison, Badger, Bell, Benjamin, Brod- 
head, Brown, Butler, Clay, Clayton, Dawson, Dixon, Dodge of Iowa, 
Douglas, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Gwin, Houston, Hunter, Johnson, Jones 
of Iowa, Jones of Tennessee, Mason, Morton, Norris, Pettit, Pratt, 
Knsk, Sebastian, Shields, Slidell, Stuart, Toucey, Walker, Weller and 
Williams— 36. 

And so the amendment was rejected. It will be observed 


Itut Dr. Gwin, who quotes Mr. Douglas' vote against the 
Chase amendment as conclusive evidence that the Nebraska 
Bill was not intended to confer on the Territorial legislature 
the power of introducing or excluding slavery, was present 
participating in these proceedings, without uttering one 
word of dissent or disapprobation of the speeches of Messrs. 
Pratt, Shields and Badger, when the latter declared that the 
bUl as it stood without the Chase amendment, " submits the 
whole authority to the Territorial legislature to determine 
for itself," " and that if the people of these Territories choose 
to exclude slavery, so far from my considering it a wrong 
done to me or ray constituents, I shall not complain of it — it 
is their own business." 

The reader will doubtless be curious to know why it hap- 
pened that so many of the senators who participated in the 
removal of Mr. Douglas from the chairmanship of the Com- 
mittee on Territories for construing the Nebraska Bill in the 
same manner as Mr. Badger construed it the day before it 
received their votes, could have remained silent in their 
places without one word of dissent or protest. 

The Trumbull proposition referred to by Dr. Gwin, -was 
offered as an amendment to the bill for the admission of 
Kansas into the Union as a State, two years after the passage 
of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and was rejected solely upon the 
ground that it was irrelevant to the bUl for the admission of 
St State, and not because it did not declare the true intent 
and meaning of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. 

It was in the following words : 

JiUd T)e it further enacted : — 

That the provision in the act "to organize the Temtones ot 
Kansas and Nebraska," which declares it to be "the true intent 
and meaning of said act not to legislate slavery into any Territory 
or State, or to exclude it theretrom, but to leave the people 
thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic insti 
tutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of 
the United States," was intended to and does confer upon or leaT» 


to tho people of the Territory of Kansas full power at any tim« 
through its Territorial legislature to exclude slavery from said Ter- 
ritory, or to recognize or regulate it therein. 

The official report of the proceedings on this amendment 
(see App. to " Cong. Globe," July 2d, 1856) shows that this 
amendment was discussed by Senators Benjamin, Trumbull, 
Fessenden, Cass, Douglas, Bigler, Toucey, Hale, Seward and 
Bayard, and that no one of them denied or intimated that the 
amendment did not declare the true intent and meaning of 
the original act, and that those who opposed it did so upon 
the ground that it was irrelevant to the bill under con- 

Me. Cass said: Now, in respect to myself, I suppose the Senate 
knows clearly my views. I believe the original act gave the Territo- 
rial legislature of Kansas full power to exclude or allow slavery. 
. . . . This being my view, I shall vote against the amendment. 

Me. Douglas said : The reading of the amendment inclines my 
mind to the belief, that in its legal effect it is precisely the same with 
the original act, and almost in the words of that act. Hence, I should 
have no hesitancy in voting for it, except that it is putting on this 
bill a matter which does not belong to it. 

Me. Biglee said : Now, sir, I am not prepared to say what the 
intention of the Congress of 1854 was, because I was not a member 
of that Congress. I will not vote on this amendment, because I 
should not know that my vote was expressing the truth. I agree too, 
with the senator from Michigan (Mr. Cass), and the senator from 
Illinois (Mr. Douglas), that this is substantially the law as it now 

Me. Touoet said : Now, I object to this amendment as superflu- 
ous, nugatory, worse than that, as giving grounds for misrepresenta- 
tion. It leaves the subject precisely where it is left in the Kansas- 
Nebraska Bill. 

Me. Bataio) said : I have an objection to the amendment proposed 
by the honorable senator from Illinois (Mr. Trumbull), which to me 
would be perfectly sufficient, independent of any other : and that is, 
it is nothing more or less than an attempt to give a judicial exposition 
by the Congress of the United States to the Constitution ; and I hold 
that they have no right to usurp judicial power. 

The question being taken by yeas and nays on the amaod* 
ment, resulted, ayes 11, nays 34, as follows : 


Ybas — Messrs. Allen, Bell, of N". H., Collaraer, Durkee, Fessen- 
den, Foote, Foster, Hale, Seward, Trumbull and Wade — 11. 

Nays — Messrs. Adams, Bayard, Benjamin, Biggs, Bigler, Bright, 
Brodhead, Brown, Oass, Olay, Crittenden, Dodge, Douglas, Evans, 
Fitzpatrick, Geyer, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, Jones, of Iowa, Mal- 
lory. Mason, Pratt, Pugh, Eeid, Sebastian, Slidell, Stuart, Thompson, 
of Kentucky, Toombs, Toucey, Weller, Wright and Yulee — 34. 

So the amendment was rejected. 

Upon this transcript from the records we have three com- 
ments to make, which cannot fail to impress the reader. 

First, That dm'ing this whole debate no senator pretended 
that Mr. Trumbull's amendment did not declare the true 
intent and meaning of the Nebraska Aet, according to iti 
legal effect and plain reading. 

Second, That every senator who spoke against the amend- 
ment, assigned as the sole reason for his vote, either that it 
was irrelevant or an attempt by Congress 6o usurp judicial 

Third, That the senators who arraignecl and condemned 
Mr. Douglas as too unsound to be chairman of the Terri- 
torial Committee for no other reason than that he then con- 
strued the Kansas-jSTebraska Act the same as previously, 
listened to this debate without one word of dissent, 
and by their silence acquiesced in the construction 
which the author of the bill distinctly affirmed in their 
presence. Indeed, it may be said that this construction 
of the act was unanimously affirmed by the Senate, on this 
occasion — the Republicans assenting to it by their votes in 
favor of the amendment, and all the others by their acqui- 
escence in the reasons assigned by Messrs. Cass, Douglas, 
Bayard, Bigler and Toucey for voting against it. If, however, 
the senators should attempt to escape the conclusion under 
cover of the reasons assigned by Mr. Bayard, that the 
amendment was " nothing more or less than an attempt to 
give a judicial exposition, by the Congress of the United 


States, to the Constitution," and " that they have no rig^ 
to usurp judicial power," with what consistency could the 
gentlemen meet in secret caucus and propose resolutions, to 
be offered in open Senate, as a platform for the Charleston 
Convention ; thus " giving a judicial exposition," by the 
caucus and the Senate, to the Constitution, on the identical 
point which Mr. Bayard denounced as "a usurpation of 
judicial power," and in the justice of which denunciation 
tbey all appeared at the time to acquiesce? 






Great Speech of Mr. Douglas on the Harper's Ferry Invasion-Anxiety to 
hear him-His Speeches in Reply to Senators Fessendcn, Jeif. Davis, 
and Seward— The Caucus of Senators-Their Utopian Platform. 

The first session of the 36tli Congress met on the first Mon- 
day in December, 1859. The great practical measm-e of the 
session was the proposition of Mr. Douglas, embraced m the 
resolution which he offered on the 16th of January, 1860, 
instructing the Judiciary Committee to report a bill to pro- 
tect each State from invasion by people of other States. 

A day or two before the introduction of this resolution, a 
sharp passage at arms took place in the Senate between Mr. 
Douglas and Messrs. Clay, Jeff. Davis, and Green, which is 
thus described by the correspondent of the "New York 

Mn PuGH of Ohio, a sharp, keen, and plucky debater, and the 
right hand man of Mr Douglas brought the controversy to a focus 
There was a^ood deal of cross-firing and sharp-shooting against the 
JocTnnrand speeches of the kittle Giant, from Green ve^so^^ 
Clay Davis, Gwin, and other southsiders, till at length the Little 

""i^c^^^ZTo/^^^^^^^ looked better in his life 

-nev^pprell fresher in the ring and never a|g;utted lumsel^^ 
more to the admiration of his fnends. He was ^ ^J^ '^ ^^J \^ j'^;^^ 

^nd of the *essioB, 


Mr. Douglas announced to-day that he will abide hy the decision 
of the convention, for the sake of the Democratic party, though he 
will not accept its nomination except upon the doctrine of popular 
sovereignty, as enunciated in the Cincinnati platform. 


This was Mr. Douglas's first appearance in the Senate aftei 
his severe and protracted illness, and it was thought rather 
ungenerous in these senators to make a combined and con 
certed attack upon him under the circumstances. It is con- 
ceded, however, by all who listened to the debate, that he 
never bore himself more gallantly or came out of a contest 
more successfully. The objects of the assaults upon him were 
to justify his removal from the Committee on Territories, 
upon the ground that he held opinions incompatible with the 
Democratic creed. We give several extracts from this im- 
portant debate. 

In reply to Mr. Davis of Mississippi, Mr. Douglas said : 

I have never complained of my removal from the chairmanship 
of the Committee on Territories, "and I never intended to allude to 
that subject in this body ; but I do assert that the record proves that 
the Senate knew for eleven years that I held the identical opinions 
which I expressed in my Freeport speech, and which are now alleged 
as the cause of my removal ; and during that period, with a full 
knowledge of those opinions, which were repeated over and over 
again in this body, within the hearing of every member of the Se- 
nate, I was, by the unanimous vote of the body, made chairman of 
that committee, being reelected each year for eleven years. The 
cause now assigned for my removal is that I hold the identical 
opinions to-day that I held and repeatedly expressed during that 
whole period. If this be the true state of the facts, what does it 
prove ? Simply, that those who removed me changed at the end of 
the eleven years, and I was not sound because I did not; change as 
suddenly as they. My only offence consists in fidelity to the princi- 
ples that I had avowed during that whole period. If at the end of 
that time riy opinions were incompatible with those of a majority, 


It shows that the majority had changed their policy but that I bad 
aot cha,nged my opinions. 

Mr. Green answered by charging that Mr. Douglas, in 
1856, had declared in the Senate that the question, in respect 
to the extent of the power of a Territorial legislature over 
the subject of slavery, was a judicial question, which could 
be alone authoritatively determined by the Supreme Court 
)f the Unitevi States. 

Mr. Douglas, in reply, said : 

In 1856 I did say it was a judicial question, and I said it over and 
over again before 1856. I have said it since that time. I declared 
in my Illinois speeches that it was a judicial question, I have declared 
the same thing in every publication I have made during the last 
year. I assert, now, that it is a judicial question. The point is that 
for years it was no want of soundness in principle that I held one 
side of that judicial question while others held the opposite. I assert 
that the Senate did know which side of the judicial question I held. 
But I have always said that I would abide the decisions of the Su- 
preme Court, not only as a matter of policy but from consideri*.tions 
of duty. I take the law as expounded by the Supreme Court, I re- 
ceive the Dred Scott decision as an authoritative exposition ; but I 
deny that the point now under consideration has been decided in the 
Dred Scott case. There is no one fact in that case upon which it 
could have arisen. The lawyers engaged on each side never dreamt 
that it did arise in the case. It is offensive and injurious to the 
reputation of tlie court to say that they decided a great question which 
had been the ssbject of agitation to the extent of convulsing the 
whole country, when it did not arise in the case, and when it was 
not argued by counsel. Sir, it would prove the court unworthy to 
decide the great question in a civilized country if it would take cog- 
nizance of a case when there was no fact upon the record upon which 
it could arise, when the counsel on either side never dreamt that 
it was in issue, when there was no argument on it, and foreclose the 
right of self-government to thousands and hundreds of thousands ot 
people without a hearing. But one word more : I assert, and the 
debates will prove, that the understanding of the Kansas-Nebrftfia 


Bill was that this was a judicial question to he decided when it 
should arise on a Territorial enactment. 

The speech of the senator from Va. (Mr. Hunter), shows clearly 
that it was to arise on a Territorial enactment, and all the speeches 
ot \ll of us show that it was in that way and at that time that this 
judicial question was expected to arise and he decided. The under- 
standing was that when a Territorial legislature passed an act on 
this subject, of which any man complained, he should he able to 
bring the matter before the Supreme Court ; and to facilitate the 
court in getting jurisdiction, we amended the bill by putting in a 
clause providing that a case affecting the title to slaves might be 
taken up to the Supreme Court without reference to the amount in- 
volved. That clause was inserted in order to get this judicial ques- 
tion before the Supreme Court of the United States. How ? On a 
Territorial enactment, and nobody ever dreamt that the court was 
going in a decision on a case which did not affect that question to 
decide this point without argument and without notice, and preclude 
the rights of the people without allowing them to be heard. Whenevei 
a Territorial legislature shall pass an act divesting or attempting to 
divest or impair or prejudice the right to slave property, and a case 
under that act shall be brought before the Supreme Court, I will 
abide by the decision aud help in good faith to carry it out. 

Mr. Clay, of Alabama, was the next to assail Mr. Douglas 
and to impeach the soundness of his principles and the con- 
sistency of his 30Tirse upon the slavery question. In reply 
to him, Mr. Douglas said : 

1 say to tbe gentleman from Alabama, that while I have sought no 
fiympathy and desire no sympathy, I shrink from no vindication of 
myself. I leave the public to judge whether there has not been 
rather a doubling of teams on me every time I have engaged in 
debate for the last two years. After fighting an unholy alhance in 
ray own State, between federal oflSceholders and abolitionists, and 
triumphing over them, did I come here at the last session and make 
any parade of that fact? No, sir, I remained silent. I made nc 
vindication of myself; I made no complaint of my removal from tht 
chair of the Territorial Committee ; I never alluded to it, and the 
Blatter would never have passed my lips if it had not been tlirusi \v 


my face in debate in trie Senate to-day. Tlie discussion of last year 
was brought on by others and not by me, and yet we have been told 
by a senator (Mr. Gwin) while making a speech in the country, tliat 
those tv^ho removed me from the head of that committee expected me 
to defend myself, and complained that I waited until the end of the 
session, after I had been tried, condemned and executed in my ab- 
sence. Sir, I had no defence to make. I scorn to make any defence. 
. stood conscious of the rectitude of my own motives and the correct- 
ness of my own actions. I claimed the right to hold and vindicate 
Hoy own opinions, and to impeach no other man's conduct or the 
integrity of his purpose. I yield to every senator the right of differ- 
ing from me, and I never make a test on him for doing so. 

I have but a word more to say now, and that is on another point. 
Tlie senator from Alabama tells me that if he had not supposed that 
I had changed my opinions, he would never have extended to me the 
fight hand of fellowsliip as a Democrat. Well, sir, I do not know 
ihat my Democracy would have suffered much if he never had. I 
am willing to compare records with him as a Democrat. I nevei 
make speeches, proclaiming to the world tliat if I cannot get my 
man nominated I will bolt the convention and break up tlie Dcmo- 
,'jratic party, and then talk about the right hand of Democrae.e 
fellowship. Sir, that senator has placed himself beyond the pale of 
Democratic fellowship, by the pronunciaraento that he will not abide 
the decision of the National Convention, if the speeches, which I see 
attributed to him in the newspapers, are true. I do not understand 
this thing of belonging to an organization, going into a convention 
and abiding by the result if you win and bolting if you lose. I never 
thought that it was deemed fair dealing in any profession. If you 
take the winnings when you gain, I always thought you had to pay 
your bets when you lost : a man who tells me and the world that he 
only goes into a convention to abide the result in the event of its 
deciding in his favor, has no right to talk about extending the hand 
of Democratic fellowship. Now, sir, I have the kindest feelings 
toward the gentleman personally. He has a right to differ from 
me ; he has a right to bolt the Charleston Convention ; he lias a right 
to proclaim to the world beforehand that he means to do so ; but ha 
has no right to go into the convention unless he intends to abide tha 


reault. He has no right to claim that he belongs to the convention 
and say that he will bolt the nominee; and hence I say to that 
senator, with all kindness, that if he does not extend to me the right 
Land of Democratic fellowsliip I shall survive the stroke. If I should 
happen to be the nominee of the Charleston Convention, and he 
should vote against me, I am not certain that it would diminish my 
majority in his own State. I am not counting his support. Permit 
me to say to that senator that it will be time enough to threaten thai 
he will not vote for me when I ask him to do it. Permit me to say 
farther to him that I am doing quite as much honor to him if I con- 
sent to accept his vote, as he will do me by conferring it. 

When threats are made of not extending the hand of Democratic 
fellowship, I sliould like to understand who it is that has the right to 
say who is in the party and who not. I believe that more than two^ 
thirds of the Democracy of the United States are with me on this 
disputed point. James Buchanan received about eighteen hundred 
thousand votes at the last election, more than twelve hundred 
thousand of them in the free States, and something over six hundred 
thousand in the slaveholding States, and you have heard it said b}" 
the senator from Ohio to-day, and I believe it, that ninety-nine out 
nf every one hundred Democrats in the northern States agreed with 
him and me on this question. Then one-third of the Democratia 
party are going to read out the remaining two-thirds. Your candidate 
will have a good chance of election if you shall have done it, will he 
not ? 

The only importance attached to the question of the chairmanship 
of the Committee on Territories is this : heretofore no test has been 
made as i;o a man's opinions on this judicial question, and hence ] 
could hold the position of chairman by a unanimous vote, without 
objection ; but now it is made a test. I do not make it — I only resist 
your test if you make it on me. While I do not want the chairman- 
ship — while I have performed labor enough on that committee, for 
eleven and a half years, to be anxious to get rid of it — yet the coun- 
try caimot fail to take notice that my removal at the end of eleven 
years, is significant in one of two points of view. It was either per- 
sonal or political. I acquit every man of the suspicion that it was 
personal. Then it must have been political. What does it signify ? 
It is a proclamation to the Senate that a man hoi ding tLe opinions I 


2o is not sound enough to serve as chairman of a committee. Is he 
sound enough for a cabinet officer, for a district attorney, for a collec- 
tor of the port, for a post-master, for a lighthouse-keeper ? All these 
classes of officers are now being removed, except cabinet officers, for 
holding the same opinions as myself. If you were to nominate for 
the Presidency a man who intends to pursue this proscriptive policy 
that every man holding the opinions I do is marked as a victim for 
vengeance the moment your candidates are elected, what chance have 
you of electing them ?" 

After a colloquy between Mr. Davis and Mr. Douglas, the 
latter proceeded : 

" I seek no war with any senator on either side of the chamber, 
and especially I seek none on political issues with Democratic sena- 
tors. Every word I have said has been in defence of myself against 
the imputation that I had changed my line of policy, which I utterly 
deny. I did understand, and I understand now, that when applica- 
tions are made to the present Administration for office, the question 
of a man's opinion on popular sovereignty is asked, and the applicant 
is proscribed if he agree with me in opinion. The country under- 
stands therefore tbat if a man representing this proscriptive policy 
is the next President, every man in the country who holds the 
opinions of the senator from Ohio and myself is to be proscribed 
from every office, high or low. Such is now the case. Is any gen- 
tleman prepared to take the Charleston nomination with the undei- 
standing that he is to proscribe two-thirds of the party, and then 
degrade himself so low as to seek the votes of the men whom he has 
marked as his victims ? If no tests are to be made, there can be 
harmony ; if these tests are to be made, one-third will not subdue 
tvTo-thirds. I do not intend to surrender an opinion or to try and 
force one upon any other senator or citizen. I arraign nj man 
because of his opinions." 



On Monday, the 23d of January, the resolution submitted 
on the 16th instant having been made the special order for 
that day, Mr. Douglas addressed the Senate in its support,, 
It was known in Washington for some time previously that 
he would speak on that day, and this fact drew to the Capitol 
an immense concourse of people. It would seem that the 
mantles of Clay and Webster had fallen upon the shoulders 
of Douglas, for it is well known that for years was it simply 
necessary to say "Douglas speaks to-day," in order to have 
the Senate chamber thronged by all the wit and beauty in 
the capital. On this occasion, although it was known that 
Mr. Douglas would not begin to speak tUl nearly two in the 
afternoon, yet as early as ten in the morning, numerous groups 
of people were seen wending their way to the Capitol. At 
eleven, the galleries were full, and the tide of silk and satin, 
cambric and crinoline, continued to gather in the avenues and 
lobbies. Crowds of ladies and gentlemen continued to pour 
in, tiU at noon every seat in the immense chamber was occu- 
pied, and all the standing-place jammed. The members of 
the House of Representatives came in almost in a body, and 
occupied the floor. The foreign diplomatic corps too, were 
present in full force. Never before had there been such a 
scene in the new chamber. 

Douglas was to speak — not for Illinois, not for the West, 
but for the pacification of the whole country, and the perpe- 
tuity of the Union. 

The reader will comprehend the character of this speech 
from the subjoined extracts: 



The hf 'Jf having arrived for the consideration of the special order, 
the Senate proceeded to consider the following resolution, submitted 
by Mr. Douglas on the 16th instant : 

^^Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be instructed to report a bfl' 
for the protection of each State and Territory of the Union against invasion 
by the authorities or inhabitants of any other State or Territory ; and for tht 
suppression and punishment of conspiracies or combinations in any State o: 
Territory with intent to invade, assail, or molest the gov ernment, inhabit 
ants, property, or institutions of any other State or Territor y of the Union.' 

Mr. Dotjglas. — ^Mr. President, on the 25th of November last, the 
governor of Virginia addressed an official communication to the 
President of the United States, in which he said: 

" I have information from various quarters, upon which I rely, that a con- 
spiracy of formidable extent, in means and numbers, is formed in Ohio, Penn- 
sylvania, New York, and other States, to rescue John Brown and his associ- 
ates, prisoners at Charlestown, Virginia. The information is specific enough 
to be reliable 

" Places in Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, have been occupied as depota 
and rendezvous by these desperadoes, unobstructed by guards or latherwise, 
to invade this State, and we are kept in continual apprehension <*f outrage 
from fire and rapine. I apprise you of these facts in order that you may take 
steps to preserve peace between the States." 

To this communication the President of the United States, on the 
28th of November, returned a reply, from which I read the follow- 
ing sentence: 

" I am at a loss to discover any provision in the Constitution or laws of the 
United States which would authorize me to 'take steps 'for this purpose.' 
[That is, to preserve the peace between the States.] 

This announcement produced a profound impression upon U\,t 
public mind, especially in the slaveholding States. It was generally 
received and regarded as an official and authoritative announcement 
that the Constitution of the United States confers no power upon 
the Federal Government to protect the several States of this Union 
against invasion from the other States. I shall not stop to inquire 
whether the President meant to declare that the existing laws confer 
no authority upon him, or that the Constitution empowers Congress 
to enact no laAvs which would authorize the federal interposition Ut 
protect the States from invasion ; my object is to raise the inquiry, 
and to ask the judgment of the Senate and of the House of Repre- 
sentatives on the question, whether it is not within the power of 
Congress, and the duty of Congress, under the Constitution, to en 
act all laws which are neoesuary and proper for the protection of 

198 THE LIFE AND SPEfiCflfiS Of 

each and every State against invasion, either from foreign power^o? 

from any portion of the United States, 


Sir, what were the causes which produced the Harper's Ferry 
Dutrage ? Without stopping to adduce evidence in detail, I have no 
hesitation in expressing my iirm and dehberate conviction that the 
Harper's Ferry crime was the natural, logical, inevitable result of 
the doctrines and teachings of the Republican party, as explained 
and enforced in their platform, their partisan presses, their 
pam^jhlets and books, and especially in the speeches of their leaders 
in and out of Congress. (Applause in the galleries.) 

Order being restored, Mr. Douglas proceeded : 

1 was remarking that I considered this outrage at Harper's Ferry 
as the logical, natural consequence of the teachings and doctrines of 
the Republican party. I am not making this statement for the pur- 
pose of crimination or partisan effect. I desire to call the attention 
of members of that party to a reconsideration of the doctrines that 
tJiey are in the habit of enforcing, with a view to a fair judgment 
whether they do not lead directly to those consequences on the part 
oi tnose deluded persons who think that all they say is meant in real 
earnest, and ought to be carried out. The great principle that un- 
derlies the organization of the Republican party is violent, irrecon- 
cilable, eternal warfare upon the institution of American slavery, 
with the view of its ultimate extinction throughout the land ; sec- 
tional war is to be waged until the cotton fields of the South shall 
be cultivated by free labor, or the rye fields of New York and 
Massachusetts shall be cultivated by slave labor. In furtherance of 
this article of their creed, you find their political organization not 
only sectional in its location, but one whose vitality consists in ap- 
peals to northern passion, northern prejudice, northern ambition 
asainst southern States, southern institutions, and southern people. 
* * * * * * 

Can any man say to us that altliough this outrage lias been perpe- 
trated at tiarper's Ferry, there is no danger of its recurrence? Sir, 
is not tlie Re|)ublican party still embodied, organized, sanguine, con- 
fident of sucress, and defiant in its pretensions ? Does it not now 
hold and proclaim the same creed that it did before this invasion \ 
It is true that most of its representatives liere disavow the acts of 
Jolin Brown at Harper's Ferry. lam glad that they do so ; lam 
rejoiced that they have gone thus far ; but I must bo permitted to 
say to tliem that it is not sufiicient tliat tliey disavow the act, unless 
they also repudiate and denounce tlie doctrines and teachings which 
produced the act. Those doctrines remain the same ; those teachings 
are being poured into the minds of men tliroughout the country, by 
means of speeches, and pamphlets, and books, and tlirough partisan 
presses. The causes that produced the Harpitr's Ferry invasion are 


now id dotive operation. Is it true that the people of fill the border 
States are required by the Constitution to liave their hands tied, 
without the power of self-defence, and remain patient under a threat- 
ened invasion in the day or in the night? Can you expect people to 
be patient, when they dare not lie down to sleep at iiiii;lit witliout 
first stationing sentinels around their houses to see if a hand of ma- 
rauders and murderers are not approaching witli torch and pistol ? 
Sir, it requires more patience than freemen ever sliould cultivate, to 
submit to constant annoyance, irritation and appreliension. If we 
expect to preserve this Union, we must remedy, witliin tlie Union, 
and in obedience to the Constitution, every evil for which disunion 
would furnish a remedy. 

Upon the conclusion of this speech Mr. Fessenden at- 
tempted to break its force by a violcHt partisan attack on 
Mr. Douglas and the Democratic party ; to which Mr. Doug- 
las instantly replied, repelling the assaults and vindicating 
the position of the Democratic party upon the slavery ques- 
tion. We invite attention to extracts : 


Sw*, I desire a law that will make it a crime, punishable by impri 
soument in the penitentiary, after conviction in the United States 
court, to make a conspiracy in one State, against the people, properly, 
government, or institutions of another. Then we shall get at the 
root of the evil. I have no doubt that gentlemen on the other side 
will vote for a law which pretends to comply with the guarantees of 
the Constitution, without carrying any force or efficiency in its pro- 
visions. I have heard men abuse the Fugitive Slave Law, and express 
their willingness to vote for amendments ; but when you came to the 
amendments which they desired to adopt, you found they were such 
as would never return a fugitive to his master. They would go for 
any fugitive slave law that had a hole in it big enougli to let the ne- 
gro drop through and escape ; but none that would comply with the 
obligations of the Constitution. So we shall find that side of the 
House voting for a law that will, in terms, disapprove of unlawful 
expeditions against neighboring States, without being efficient in 
affording protection. 

But the senator says it is a part of the policy of the northern 
Democracy to represent the Republicans as being hostile to southern 
institutions. Sir, it is a part of the policy of the northern Demo- 
cracy, as well as their duty, to speak the truth on that subject. I did 
not suppose that any man would have the audacity to arraign a bro- 
ther eenator here for representing the Republican party as doaUn« i» 


denunciation and insult of the institutions of the South. Look to 
your Pliiladelphia platform, where you assert the sovereign power of 
Congress over the Territories for their government, and demand thai 
it sliall be exerted agrJnst those twin relics of barbarism — polygamy 
and slavery. 

I have said and repeat that this question of slavery is one of 
climate, of political economy, of self-interest, not a question of legis- 
lation. Wherever the climate, tlie soil, the hfialth of the country 
are such that it cannot be cultivated by white labor, you will have 
African labor, and compulsory labor at that. Wherever white labor 
can be employed cheapest and most protitably, there African labor 
will retire and white labor will take its place. 

You cannot force slavery by all the acts of Cuiiu'i-ess you may 
make on one inch of territory against the will of the people, and 
you cannot, by any law you can make, keep it out from one inch of 
American territory where the people want it. You tried it in 
Illinois. By the Ordinance of 1787, slavery was prohibited, and yet 
our people, believing that slavery would be profitable to them, estab- 
lished hereditary servitude in the Territory by Territorial legislation, 
in defiance of your federal ordinance. We maintained slavery there 
just so long as Congress said we should not have it, and we abolished 
it at just the moment you recognized us as a State, with the right to 
do as we pleased. When we established it, it was on the supposi- 
tion that it was for our interest to do so. 

* * * * ** ♦ * % 

My object is to establish firmly the doctrine that each State is to 
do it? own voting, establish its own institutions, make its own laws 
without interference, directly or indirectly, from any outside power. 
The gentleman says that is squatter sovereignty. Call it sqi^ itter 
sovereignty, call it popular sovereignty, call it what you please it is 
the great principle of self-government on which this Union was 
formed, and by the preservation of which alone can it be raaintaraed. 
[t is the right of the people of every State to govern tliemselvet. and 
make their own laws, and be protected from outside violence or i. iter- 
ference, directly or indirectly. Sir, I confess tlie object of the le^^ isla- 
tion I contemplate is to put down this outside interference ; it Is to 
repress this "irrepressible conflict;" it is to bring the government 
back to the true principles of the Constitution, and let each people in 
this Union rest secure in the enjoyment of domestic tranquillity with- 
out apprehension from neighboring States. I will not occupy 
fiirtber time. 


On the 26th of Jannary, Mr. Douglas made the foUowiug 
remarks, in his reply to Gen. Jeff. Davis, senator from 


Me. Douglas. — I think if the senator from Missis.t'ippi had care- 
fuily read ray speecli, he would have found no necessity for vindicat- 
ing the President of the United States from any criticis-in tliat I liad 
made upon his letter, or from any issue that I had made vv^ith the 
President growing out of that letter. Certainly, in my speech, there 
is no criticisni upon the President, none upon his letter, no issue 
made with him; on the contrary, an express disclaimer of any such 
issue. I quoted the paragraph from the President's letter in reply 
to Gov. Wise, and I will quote it again : 

" I am at a loss to discover any provision in the Constitution or 
laws of the United States which would authorize me to take steps for 
this purpose." [That is, preserving the peace between the States.] 

My impression, from reading the President's letter, was that h-e 
was inclined to the belief that the Constitution conferred no power 
upon the Federal Government to interfere. But still, it might be 
that such was not the President's meaning, and that he only wished 
to be understood as saying that existing laws conferred no authority 
upon him to interfere. Hence, in order to make no issue with the 
President upon subject, T stated, T shall not stop to inquire whe- 
ther he meant to be understood as denying the power of Congress to 
confer authority, or denying that the authority was yet conferred. 
My simple object was to obtain suitable legislation to redress similar 
evils in the future ; that if the present laws were not sujBBcient — I 
believe there are none on the subject — Congress ought to enact suit- 
able laws to the extent that the Constitution authorized, to prevent 
these invasions. I quoted it for the purpose of showing the necessity 
of legislation by Congress. My argument was founded upon that 
supposed necessity. I proceeded to demonstrate that the Constitu- 
tion conferred the power on Congress to pass laws necessary and pro- 
per to protect the States, and I called upon Congress to exercise that 
power. I made no issue with the President. 

But the senator intimates that the legislation of which I spoke 
would lead to an act of usurpation that would endanger the rights of 
the States, and yet goes on to prove that the President of the United 
States does not diifer with rao in regard to that constitutional power. 
If the President agrees with me on that point, I am glad of it. If he 
differs with me it would not change my opinions nor my action, but 
I respectfully submit, when I only propose such legislation as the 
Constitution authorizes and requires, it is hardly fair to say that that 
means an attack upon the sovereignty of the States. 

The legislation that I propose on this point of combinations, was 
this: that it shall be lawful for the grand juries of the United States 
courts to indict all men who shall form conspiracies or combinations 
to invade a State or to disturb or molest citizens, property, or insti- 
tutions; and that it shall be proper for the petit jury in the United 
States courts, under the judge, to try and convict the conspirators, 
and to punish them by confinement in the penitentiaries or prisons 
within the respective States where the conspiracies or combinations 
are formed. That was the power that I proposed should be coa 


ferred by law on the federal courts. I never proposed to intrust to th« 
President an army to go and seek out conspiracies, to seek out com- 
binations, and to punish them by military rule. My whole argument 
was that the federal courts should have jurisdiction over these con- 
spiracies and combinations; that tlie conspirators should be indicted, 
and convicted according to law, and puniahed to the extent of their 
power. But in case of an organized body of men, or a military force 
in the act of invading, I would confer authority to use military force 
to the extent necessary to prevent that — not the conspiracy. 

The senator says he has got that power now. The President ot 
the United States, I apprehend, thought not, for this reason : He said 
the only power he had got was the authority conferred by the two 
acts to which he alluded, to wit : to protect the United States against 
invasion from foreign powers and Indian tribes ; and he stated that 
tlie invasion of one State from another State did not come within the 
specifications of the statute fbv protecting the United States against 
foreign powers and Indian tribes. If the senator tliinks that that 
power is there, when we get the legislation before us it will be pro- 
per to make amendments which will reach each objection he may 
raise. The two propositions I maintained in my argument, and 
those provided for in my resolution, were these : first to protect each 
State against invasion — the case of actual invasion being then in pro- 
cess of execution ; second, to make it criminal to form conspiracies 
and combinations in any State or Territory, or any place witliin the 
United States, against the institutions, property or government of 
any other State or Territory of this Union. Those were the propo- 


On the 29th of February, Mr. Seward made his great speech 
on the occasion of his presenting the Wyandott Constitution 
of Kansas. It was a speech of much ability, and no doubt, 
when he had concluded, Mr. Seward imagined that he had 
dealt a death-blow to the Democratic party. Mr. Douglas 
immediately replied to Mr. Seward, taking up seriatim the 
points of his speech, and scattering his sophistries to the 
winds. By. general confession Mr. Douglas never ap 
peared to better advantage on the floor of the Senate thai in 
this triumphant extempore reply to Mr. Seward. In the lan- 
guage of the correspondent of the " Cleveland Plaindealcr," 
" He decapitated the mighty PhiUstine with his own sword 


TLe beautiful structure which had cost Mr. Seward »3> much 
time, labor, and travel, was in one brief hour scattered in 
fragments at the feet of the Little Giant." 

The reader will find the reply of Mr. Douglas in a subse- 
quent part of this work, from which we give brief extracts : 


Mit. Peesident : I trust I shall be pardoned for a few remarks upon 
so much of the senator's speech as consists in an assault on the De- 
mocratic party, and especially with regard to the Kansas-Nebraska 
bill, of which I was the responsible autlior. It has become fashion- 
able now-a-days for each gentleman making a speech against the De- 
mocratic party to refer to the Kansas-Nebraska act us a cause of all 
the disturbances that have since ensued. They talk about tlie repeal 
of a sacred compact that had been undisturbed for more than a quar- 
ter of a century, as if those who complained of violated faith had 
been faithful to the provisions of the Missouri Compromise. Sir, 
wherein consisted the necessity for the repeal or abrogation of that 
act, except it was that the majority in the northern States refused 
to carry out the Missouri Compromise in good faith ? I stood willing 
to extend it to the Pacific Ocean, and abide by it forever, and the 
entire South, without one exception in this body, was willing thus 
to abide by it ; but the freesoil element of the northern States was 
so strong as to defeat that measure, and thus open the slavery ques- 
tion anew. The men who now complain of the abrogation of that 
act were the very men who denounced it, and denounced all of us 
who were willing to abide by it so long as it stood upon the statute- 
book. Sir, it was the defeat, in the House of Representatives, of the 
enactment of the bill to extend the Missouri Compromise to the 
Pacific A^cean, after it had passed the Senate on ray own motion, that 
opened the controversy of 1850, which was terminated by the adop- 
tion of the measures of that year. 

We carried those Compromise measures over the head of the sena 
tor of "New York and his present associates. We, in those measures 
established a great principle, rebuking his doctrine of intervention 
by the Congress of the United States to prohibit slavery in the Ter- 
ritories. Both parties, in 1852, pledged themselves to abide by that 
principle and thus stood pledged not to prohibit slavery in the Ter- 
ritories by act of Congress. Tlie Whig party afllrmed that pledge, 
and so did the Democracy. In 1854 we only carried out, in the 
Kansas-Nebraska Act, the same principle that had been affirmed in 
the Compromise measures of 1850. I repeat that their resistance to 
carrying out in good faith the settlement of 1820, their defeat of th« 
bill for extending it to the Pacific Ocean, was the sole cause of the 
agitation of 1850, and gave rise to the necessity of establishing th« 


principle of non-intervention by Congress with slavery in the Teiri 

But, sir, the whole argument of that senator goes far beyond the 
question of slavery, even in the Territories. His entire argument 
rests on the assumption that the negro and the white man were equal 
by Divine law, and hence that all laws and constitutions and govern- 
ments in violation of the principle of negro equality are in violation 
of the law of God. That is the basis upon which his speech rests. 

He qudtes the Declaration of Independence to show that the fathers 
of the Revolution understood that the negro was placed on an equality 
with the white man, by quoting the clause, " we hold these truths to 
be self-evident that, all men are created equal, and are endowed 
by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are 
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Sir, the doctrine of that 
senator and of his party is — an<] I have had to meet it for eight 
years — that the Declaration of Independence intended to recognize 
the negro and the white man as equal under the Divine law, and 
hence that all the provisions of the Constitution of the United States 
which recognize slavery are in violation of the Divine law. In other 
words, it is an argument against the Constitution of the United 
States upon the ground that it is contrary to the law of God. The 
senator from New York has long held that doctrine. The senator 
from New York has often proclaimed to the world that the Consti- 
tution of the United States was in violation of the Divine law, and 
that senator will not contradict the statement. I have an extract 
from one of his speeches now before me, in which that proposition ia 
distinctly put fortli. In a speech made in the State of Ohio, in 1848, 
he said : 

*' Slavery is the sin of not some of the States only, but of them all ; ot nt>t 
one nationality, but of all nations. It perverted and corrupted the moral sense 
of mankind deeply and universally, and this perversion became a universal 
habit. Habits of thought become fixed principles. No American State has 
yet delivered itself entirely from these habits. We, in New York, are gnilty 
of slavery still by vrithholding the right of suffrage from the race we have 
emancipated. You, in Ohio, are guilty in the same way by a system of black 
laws still more aristocratic and odious. It is written in the Constitution of the 
United States that five slaves shall count equal to three freemen as a basis of 
representation; and it is written, also, IN VIOLATION OF DIVINE LAW, 
tha*^ "ve shall surrender the fugitive slave who takes refuge at our firesides froDB 
Iti* ^*ientless pursuer." 




Conventions of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and 
Michigan ; also of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and 
New York — Claims of the North-west — Conclusion. 


The northwestern States began to hold their State Conven- 
tions, and to elect delegates to the National Democratic Con- 
vention at Charleston, early in 1860 

Illinois was first in the field. She held her Convention at 
Springfield, on the 4th of January, 1860, and unanimously 
adopted, among others, the following resolutions : 

Resolved, That the Democracy of Illinois do reassert and affirm 
the Cincinnati platform, in the words, spirit and meaning with which 
the same was adopted, understood and ratified by the people in 1856, 
and do reject and utterly repudiate all such new issues and tests as 
the revival of the African slave-trade, or a congressional slave code 
for the Territories, or the doctrine that slavery is a federal institu- 
tion, deriving its validity in the several States and Territories in 
which it exists from the Constitution of the United States, instead 
of being a mere municipal institution, existing in such States and 
Territories "under the laws thereof." 

Resolved^ That the Democratic party of the Union is pledged in 
faith and honor, by the Cincinnati Platform and its indorsement ot 
the Kansas-Nebraska Act, to the following propositions : 

1. That all questions pertaining to African slavery in the Tern 
•ories shall be forever banished from the halls of Congress. 

2. That the people of the Territories respectively shall be left per 
fectly free to make such laws and regulations in respect to slavery 
And all other matters of local concern as they may determine for 
themselves, subject to no other limitations or restrictions than those 
imposed by the Constitation of the United States 


3. That all quostions affecting the validity or constitutionality of 
any Territorial enactments shall be referred for final decision to the 
Supreme Court of the United States, as the only tribunal provided 
by the Constitution which is competent to determine them. 

Resolved^ That we recognize the paramount judicial authority of 
the Supreme Court of the United States, as provided in the Consti- 
tution, and hold it to be the imperative duty of all good citizens to 
respect and obey the decisions of that tribunal, and to aid, by all 
lawful means, in Ciirrying them into faithful execution. 

Resolved, That the Democracy of Illinois repel with just indigna- 
tion the injurious and unfounded imputation upon the integrity and 
impartiality of the Supreme Court, which is contained in the as- 
sumption on the part of the so-called Republicans, that, in the Dred 
Scott case, that august tribunal decided against the right of the peo- 
ple of the Territories to decide the slavery question for themselves, 
without giving them an opportunity of being heard by counsel in 
defence of their rights of self-government, and when there was no 
Territorial law, enactment or fact before the court upon which that 
question could possibly arise. 

Resolved, That whenever Congress or the legislature of any State 
or Territory shall make any enactment, or do any act which attfjmpta 
to divest, impair or prejudice any right which the owner of slaves, 
or any other species of property, may have or claim in any Territory 
or elsewhere, by virtue of the Constitution or otherwise, and tlie 
party aggrieved shall bring his case before the Supreme Court of the 
United States, the Democracy of Illinois, as in duty bound by their 
obligations of fidelity to the Constitution, will cheerfully and faith- 
fully respect and abide by the decision, and use all lawful means to 
aid in giving it full effect according to its true intent and meaning. 

Resolved, That the Democracy of Illinois view with inexpressible 
horror and indignation the murderous and treasonable conspiracy of 
John Brown and his confederates to incite a servile insurrection in 
the slaveholding States, and heartily rejoice that the attempt was 
promptly suppressed, and the majesty of the law vindicated, by 
infiicting upon the conspirators, after a fair and impartial trial, 
that just punishment which the enormity of their crimes so richly 

Resolved, That the Harper's Ferry outrage was the natural conse- 

auence and and logical result of the doctrines and teachings of the 
Republican party, as explained and enforced in their platforms, par- 
tisan presses, books and pamphlets, and in the speeches of their 
leaders, in and out of Congress, and for this reason an honest and 
law-abiding people should ^lot be satisfied with the disavowal or dis- 
approval by the Republican leaders of John Brown's acts, unless they 
also repudiate the doctrines and teachings which produced those 
monstrous crimes, and denounce all persons who profess to sympa- 
thize with murderers and traitors, lamenting their fate and venerating 
their memory as martyrs who lost their lives in a just and holy cause. 
Besoloed, That the delegates representing Illinois in the CharlestoD 


Convention be instructed to vote for and use all honorable means to 
secure the readoption of the Cincinnati platform, without any addi- 
tions or subtractions. 

Resolved^ That no honorable man can accept a seat as a delegate in 
the National Democratic Convention, or should be recognized as a 
member of the Democratic party, who will not abide the decisions 
of such convention and support its nominecH, 

Resolved^ That we affirm and repeat the principles set forth in the 
resolutions of the last State Convention of the Illinois Democracy, 
held in this city on the 21st day of April, 1858, and will not hesitate 
to apply those principles wherever a proper case may arise. 

Resolved^ That the Democracy of the State of Illinois is unani- 
BQOUsly in favor of Stephen A. Doiiglas for the next Presidency, and 
that the delegates from this State are instructed to vote for him, and 
make every honorable effort to procure his nomination. 


The convention then elected their 22 delegates ; and tuey 
were all instructed to support Mr. Douglas for the nomination 
at Charleston. 

Indiana held her convention at Indianapolis on the 11th of 
January, and passed resolutions nearly similar to the above 
and quite as strong in favor of Mr. Douglas. The 26 dele^ 
gates to Charleston, from Indiana, were instructed by this 
convention to cast the vote of the State of Indiana as a unit 
for Mr. Douglas. 

Ohio, had held her State Convention a few days before, and 
it had been equally unanimous in favor of Mr. Douglas. 
Ohio is entitled to 46 delegates to Charleston, all of whom 
were instructed by the State Convention to cast the vote of 
Ohio as a unit for Mr Douglas. 

Minnesota, entitled to 8 delegates, instructed them to go 
as a unit for Mr. Douglas. 

Iowa held her State Convention at Fort Des Moines, on the 
22d of February. It was the largest convention ever held 
in the State. There were 518 delegates present, from all parts 
of the State. The resolutions were adopted unanimously 
among them were the following : 


8. Resolved^ That we recognize in the Hon. Stephen A. Doaglasthe 
man for the times, able in council, ripe in experience, honest and firia 
in purpose, and devotedly attached to the institutions of the country, 
whose nomination as the Democratic standard-bearer for the Presi- 
dent would confer honor alike on the party and tlie country, and is 
a consummation devoutly to be wished ; and that the delegates elected 
by this convention be and are hereby instructed to cast the vote of 
the State of Iowa in the Charleston Convention as a unit for Stephen 
A. Douglas so long as he is a candidate before that body, and to 
use every other honorable means to secure his nomir»ation for the 

Another resolution cordially re-affirmed tL^ principles of 
the platform of the l^ational Democratic Convention at Cin- 
cinnati in 1856. 

Wisconsin held her State Convention on the same day. 
The following resolutions were adopted by a vote of 165 ayes 
to 22 nays : 

Renolved. That the Democratic party of Wisconsin will cordially 
support the nominee of the Charleston convention. 

Resolved^ That Stephen A. Douglas is the choice of the Democracy 
of Wisconsin for President of the United States — his eminent public 
services rendered the government and the country — his signal 
triumphs in the Senate and before the people — his admitted ability — 
his sound and just views of public policy — his devotion to the Consti- 
tution and the ITnion — render his name a tower of strength, and gives 
assurance to the conviction that, if nominated at Charleston, he will 
most certainly receive the electoral vote of Wisconsin. Therefore, 

Resolved, That the entire delegation be instructed to vote for 
Stephen A. Douglas. 

Michigan also held her State Convention on the same day. 
The convention was very full, every county in the State 
being represented. 

The Committee on Resolutions reported a long series. 
They emphatically indorse the Cincinnati platform; recog- 
nize the paramount judical authority in the Supreme Court of 
the United States ; express a fraternal regard for the citizens 
of every State, and denounce the invasion of Virginia as dan- 
gerous to the safety and prosperity of the country ; appeal to 
their brethren in other States to bury local prejudices, and 
join Michigan in advocating the claims of the favorite of tie 
North-west j present Douglas as their unanimous choice, and 


instruct their delegates to use every honorable means to se. 
cure his nomination. 

The resolutions were unanimously adopted amid great 
enthusiasm. Patriotic Union speeches were made by the 
State delegates, and all declared themselves uncompromismg 
Douglas men. The name of Douglas was always received 
w'hh the heartiest applause. 

Among the resolutions adopted, was the following : 

That admiring his broad, national statesmanship, his loyalty to 
true Democratic principles, his impartial defence of national ri-ghts 
against sectional claims, and that heroic courage which — in be- 
half of the right — quails at no difficulty or disaster, and confi- 
dent that under his matchless leadership the enthusiastic masses 
can and will sweep the Northwest from centre to circumference, 
tho Democracy of Micliigan present Stephen A. Douglas as their 
UKANiMous choice for the Presidency, and they hereby instruct 
their delegates to the Gharleton Convention to spare no honor- 
able efforts to secure his nomination. 

In the aggregate, these seven States have one hundred and 
thirty-two delegates at Charleston, and give sixty-six votes 
for President. They cast over 600,000 Democratic votes, 
a number equal to all the Democrats in the fifteen Southern 
States. They give one-third of the Democratic TOte of t!ie 
Union, and contain more than one-quarter of the population 
of the United States. By the census ot the year 18*^0 
tbey were entitled to over ninety members of Congress. 


While all the sections of the Union had each had thvA 
Presidents — indeed while every leading State in the East and 
South had had one or more of her sons honored with that 
high office — the great North-west, with its milhons of people, 
had never had the Chief Magistrate taken from her limits. 
The c^se of General Harrison can scarcely be quoted to dis- 


prove this remark, as he held the office but one month, when 
it reverted, by his death, to Virginia. 

For the first time in their history, the unfaltering Demo- 
cracy of the seven north-western States, hitherto always 
divided in their choice, were united for Douglas, and, if* 
nominated at Charleston, it was the belief of nearly all the 
intelligent men in that section he would carry every State 
west of the Ohio River. They offered, as their favorite, con- 
fessedly the foremost statesman of the nation — one, the un- 
varnished record of v/hose achievements put him on a tower- 
ing pedestal and furnished a crushing answer to all the 
calumnies of his enemies. They offered a man whose private 
escutcheon slander had never befouled with its breath, and 
whose career had been characterized by a greater height of 
moral grandeur than had ever been reached by anv statesman 
of his day. 


The adjourned meeting of the Democeatic Conven 
noN to Baltimore, on the 18th day of June, is a matter 
of histoiy. Mr. Douglas was nominated on the Second 
Ballot, he having received 180-| votes out of 194|- cast, 
when Mr. Church, of New York, offered the following : 

Resolved, That Stephen A. Douglas having received two-thirds of all the votes cast in 
the National Democratic Convention, is, according to the rules of this Convention and the 
usages of the Democratic party, declared nominated for the office of President of the 

United States. 

Messrs. Hoge, of Virginia, and Clark, of Missouri, then simultaneously 
seconded the resolution of Mr. Church declaring Judge Douglas nominated, 
according to the usages of the Democratic party and the rules of the Con- 
vention, by a two-thirds vote. 

The resolution wtis adopted unanimously. 

A scene of excitement then ensued that evinced the violence of the 
feeling so long pent up. The cheers were deafening, every person in the 
tlieatre rising, waving hats, handkerchiefs, and evincing the utmost enthu- 
siasm. The scene could not be exceeded in excitement. From the upper 
tier, banners long kept in reserve were unfurled and waved before the 
audience. On the stage appeared banners, one of which was borne by the 
delegation from Pennsylvania, bearing the motto, " Pennsylvania good for 
forty thousand majority for Douglas.'' Cheers for the " Little Giant," were 
responded to until all was in a perfect roar, inside the building and outside. 

The Convention again rose en masse, and the scene of excitement was 
renewed, cheer after cheer being sent forth for the nominee. 

Mr. Richardson, of Illinois, then made a speech, thanking the Conven- 
tion for the high honor conferred on his State in selecting for the candi- 
date for the Presidency her favorite son. Alluding to the seceders, he said 
that if the Democratic party should be defeated and perpetually ruined, 
they, the seceders, must bear the responsibility, not Douglas or his friends. 
In this connection he produced a letter from Mr. Douglas, dtited Wash- 
ington, the 20th inst., authorizing and requesting his friends to withdraw 
his name if, in their judgment, harmony could be restored in the Demo- 
cratic ranks. Mr. Richardson then said that the course of the seceders had 


placed it out of the power of the friends of Mr. Douglas to make any UM 
of the letter. He c )ncluded by saying that when the Government fails to 
accomplish the object for which it was formed, let it go down. 
The following is the letter of Mr. Douglas : 

Washington, Jiwie 20 — 11, p.m. 

Mt Dear Sir : I learn there is imminent danger that the Democratic party will be de- 
moralized, if not destroyed, by the breaking up of the Convention. Such a result would 
Inevitably expose the country to the perils of sectional strife between the Northern and 
Southern partisans of Congressional intervention upon the subject of slavery in the Terri- 
tories. I firmly and conscientiously believe that there is no safety for the country, no hope 
for the preservation o f the Union, except by a faitliful and rigid adherence to the doctrine 
of non-intervention by Congress with slavery in the Territories. Intervention means dis- 
union. There is no difference in principle between Northern and Southern intervention. 
The one intervenes for slavery, and the other against slavery ; but each appeals to the 
passions and prejudices of his own section against the peace of the whole conntry and the 
right of self-government by the peciple of the Territories. Hence the docrine of non-inter- 
vention must be maintained at all hazards. But while I can never sacrifice the principle, 
even to obtain the Presidency, I will cheerfully and joyfully sacrifice myself to maintain 
the principle. 

If, therefore, you and my other friends who have stood by me with such heroic firmness 
at Charleston and Baltimore shall be of the opinion that the principle can be preserved, 
and the unity and ascendency of the Democratic party maintained, and the country saved 
from the perils of Northern Abolitionism and Soutliern disunion hv withdrawing my name 
and unituig with some other non intervention Union-loving Democrat, I beseech you to 
pursue that course. Do not understand me as wishinj; to dictate to my friends ; I have 
implicit confidence in your and their patriotism, judgment, and discretion. Whatever 
you may do in the premises will meet my hearty approval. But I conjure you to act with 
a single eye to the safety and welfare of the country, and without the slightest regard to 
my individual interest or aggrandizement. My interest will be best promoted, and my 
ambition gratified, and motives vindicated, by that course, on the part of my friends, 
which will be most effectual in saving the country from being ruled or rmned by a sectional 
party. The action of the Charleston Convention, by sustaining me by so large a majority 
an the platform, and designating me as the first choice of the party for the Presidency, 5* 
all the personal triumph I desire. This letter is prompted by the same motives which 
induced my dispatch four years ago, withdrawing my name from the Cincinnati Convention. 
With this knowledge of my opinions and wishes, you and your other friends must act upon 
your own convictions of duty. 

Very truly, your friend, 

To Hon. Wm. A. Richardson, Balticore, Md. 


In addition to and in explanation of the Cincinnati platform, the majority 
of our late National Convention, daring its sessions at Charleston and Balti- 
more, ad >pted tlie foII(>\r'n2[ resolutions ; 


Resolved, That we, the Democracy of the Union, in Convention assembled, do hereby 
declare our affirmation of the resulutions unanimously adopted and declared as a platform 
of principles by the Democratic Convention at Cincinnati, in the year 1856, believing that 
Democratic principles are unchangeable in their natuie when applied to the same subject- 

JiesolDed, That it is the duty of the United States to afford ample and complete protec- 
tion to all its citizens, whether at home or abroad, and whether native or foreign born. 

Resolved, That one of the necessities of the age in a military, commercial and postai 
point of view, is speedy communication between the Atlantic and Pacific States, and the 
Democratic party pledge such Constitutional power of the Government as will insure th« 
construction of a Railroad to the Pacific coast, at the earliest practicable period. 

Resolved, That the Democratic party are in favor of the acquisition of Cuba on such 
ternis as shall be honorable to ourselves and just to Spain. 

Resolved, That the enactments of State Legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of 
the Fugitive Slave law, are hostile in character and subversive to the Constitution, and 
revolutionary in their effects. 

Resolved, That it is in ticcordance with the Cincinnati platform, that during the exis- 
tence of Territorial Grovernments, the measure of restriction, whatever it may be, imposed 
by the Federal Constitution on the power of the Territorial Legislature over the subject 
of the domestic relations, as the same has been or shall hereafter be finally determined by 
the Supreme Court of tlie United States, should be respected by all good citijens, and en- 
forced with promptness and fidelity by every branch of the General Government. 

On this platform, word for word, as printed above, the naajority of our 
late National Convention nominated the Hon. Stephen A. Douglas for 
President of the United States. 


Washington, Friday, Jvm,6 29, 1860. 

Gentlemen : In accordance with the verbal assurance which I gave you 
when you placed in my hands the authentic evidence of my nomination for 
the Presidency by the National Convention of the Democratic party, I now 
send you my formal acceptance. Upon a careful examination of the plat- 
form of principles adopted at Charleston and reaflBrmed at Baltimore, with 
an additional resolution which is in perfect harmony with the others, I find 
it to be a faithful embodiment of the time-honored principles of the Demo- 
cratic party, as the same were proclaimed and understood by all parties in 
the r.-esidential contests of 1848, 1852, and 1856. 

Upon looking into the proceedings of the Convention also, I find that 
the nomination was made with great unanimity, in the presence and with 
the concurrence of more than two-thirds of the whole number of dele- 
gates, and iu accordance with the long-esta-blished usages of the party. 
My inflexible purpose not to be a candidate, nor accept the nomination un- 
der any contingency, except aa the regular nominee of the National Demo 


cratic pst-ty, and in that case cnly upon the condition that the usages, ai 
well as the principles of the party, should be strictly adhered to, had been 
proclairaed for a long time and become well known to the country. These 
conditions having all been complied with by the free and voluntary actien 
of the Democratic masses and their faithful representatives, without any 
ageucy, interference, or procurement, on my part, I feel bound in honor 
and duty to accept the nomination. In taking this step, I am not unmind- 
ful of the responsih ihties it imposes, but with firm reliance upon Divine 
Providence, I have the faith that the people will comprehend the true na 
ture of the issues involved, and eventually maintain the right. 

The peace of the country and the perpetuity of the Union have been 
put in jeopardy by attempts to interfere with and to control the domestic 
affairs of the people in the Territories, through the agency of the Federal 
Government. If the power and the duty of Federal interference is to be 
conceded, two hostile sectional parties must be the inevitable result — the 
one inflaming the passions and ambitions of the North, the other of the 
South, and each strugghng to use the Federal power and authority for the 
aggrandizement of its own section, at the expense of the equal rights of 
the other, and in derogation of those fundamental principles of self-gov- 
ernment which were firmly established in this country by the American Re- 
volution, as the basis of our entire republican system. 

During the memorable period of our political history, when the advo- 
cates of Federal intervention upon the subject of slavery in the Territories 
had well-nigh " precipitated the country into revolution," the northern 
interventionists demanding the Wilraot Proviso for the prohibition of 
slavery, and the southern interventionists, then few in number, and with- 
out a single Representative in either House of Congress, insisting upon 
Congressional legislation for the protection of slavery in opposition to the 
wishes of the people in either case, it will be remembered that it required 
all the wisdom, power and influence of a Clay and a Webster and a Cass, 
supported by the conservative and patriotic men of the Whig and Demo- 
cratic parties of that day, to devise and carry out a line of policy which 
would restore peace to the country and stability to the Union. The essen- 
tial living principle of that policy, as applied in the legislation of 1850, 
was, and now is, non-intervention by Congress with slavery in the Terri- 
tories. The fair application of this just and equitable principle restored 
harmony and fraternity to a distracted country. If we now depart from 
that wise and just policy which produced these happy results, and permit 
the country to be again distracted ; if precipitated into revolution by 4 


•f etiomil contest between Pro-Slavery and Anti-Slavery interventionists, 
where shall we look for another Clay, another Webster, or another Cas« 
to pilot the ship of state over the breakers into a haven of peace and 

The Federal Union must be preserved. The Constitution must be main- 
tained inviolate in all its parts. Every right guaranteed by the Constitu- 
tion must be protected by law in all cases where legislation is necessary to 
its engagement. The judicial authority as provided in the Constitution 
must be sustained, and its decisions implicitly obeyed and faithfully exe- 
cuted. The laws must be administered and the constituted authorities 
upheld, and all unlawful resistance to these things must be put down with 
firmness, impartiality and fidelity if we expect to enjoy and transmit 
unimpaired to our posterity, that blessed inheritance which we have 
received in trust from the patriots and sages of the Revolution. 

With sincere thanks for the kind and agreeable manner in which you 
have made known to me the action of the Convention, 

I have the honor to be, 
Your friend and fellow citizen, 


Son. Vm. H. Ludlow, of New York; R. P. Dick, of North Carolina; P. 0. WieUUT. •! 
' liaiAna, and others of Committee. 



The result of the Presidential Campaign of 1860 — in 
-which Mr. Douglas actively participated, although well 
aware that the division in the Democratic party rendered his 
own election an impossibility — is well known, Mr. Douglas 
received only the electoral vote of Missouri, and three 
sevenths of the vote of New Jersey, though he received a 
popular vote of 1,365,919 ; while John C. Breckenridge, with 
a popular vote of but 847,953, secured the electoral vote of 
all the remaining Southern States — eleven in number — 
except Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, which voted for 
John Bell. 

Upon the outbreak of the great rebellion, Mr. Douglas, 
like a true patriot, took his stand in behalf of the Govern- 
ment. His last public speech, indeed, was a noble declara- 
tion in favor of the Union, at any and all hazards. 

Returning from Washington with his wife to Chicago, on 
the first day of May, 1861 — going home, though he knew it 
not, to die — he was met at the depot by an immense assem- 
blage of citizens of all parties, who insisted on escorting him 
in procession to the great Wigwam, which was already 
packed with ten thousand persons. 


Room having been made for the admission of Mr. Douglas, 
he was addressed by Thomas B. Bryan, in behalf of Chicago 
Mr. Douglas replied : 

Mr. Chairman : — I thank you for the kind terms in which you have oeen 
pleased to welcome me. I thank the Committee and citizens of Chicago for 


ibis grand and imposing reception. I beg you to believe tbat I will not do 
you nor myself the injustice to believe this magnificent ov/ition is personal 
homage to mj'self. I rejoice to know that it expresses your devotion to the 
Constitution, the Unior, and the ilag of our country. (Cheers.) 

I will not conceal gratification at the uncontrovertible test this vast audi 
ence presents — that what political differences or party questions may have 
divided us, yet you all had a canviction that when the country should be in 
danger, my loyalty could be relied on. That the present danger is imminent, 
no man can conceal. If war must come — if the bayonet must be used to 
maintain the Constitution — I can say before God my conscience is clean. 
I have struggled long for a peaceful solution of the diiEculty. I have not 
onlj- tendered those States what was theirs of right, but I have gone to the 
very extreme of magnanimity. 

The return wo receive is war, armies marched upon our capital, obstruc- 
tions and dangers to our navigation, letters of marque to invite pirates to 
prey upon our commerce, a concerted movement to blot out the United States 
of America from the map of the globe. The question is. Are we to maintain 
the country of our fathers, or allow it to be stricken down by those who, 
when they can no longer govern, threaten to destroy? 

What cause, what excuse do disunionists give us for breaking up the best 
Government on which the sun of heaven ever shed its rays? They are 
dissatisfied with the result of a Presidential election. Did they never get 
beaten before ? Are we to resort to the sword when we get defeated at the 
ballot-box? I understand it that the voice of the people expressed in the 
mode appointed by the Constitution must command the obedience of every 
citizen. They assume, on the election of a particular candidate, that their 
rights are not safe in the Union. What evidence do they present of this? 
I defy any man to show any act on which it is based. What act has been 
omitted to be done? I appeal to these assembled thousands that so far as 
the constitutional rights of the Southern States, I will say the constitutional 
rights of slaveholders, are concerned, nothing has been done, and nothing 
omitted, of which they can complain. 

There has never been a time from the day that Washington was inaugu- 
rated first President of these United States, when the rights of the Southern 
States stood firmer under the laws of the land than they do now; there never 
was a time when they had not as good a cause for disunion as they have to- 
day. What good cause have they now that has not existed under every 
Administration ? 

If they say the Territorial question — now, for the first time, there is no 
act of Congress prohibiting slavery anywhere. If it be the non-enforcement 
of the laws, the only complaints that I have heard have been of the toe 
vigorous and faithful fulfilment of the Fugitive Slave Law. Then what 
reason have they ? 


The slavery question is a mere excuse. The election of Lincoln is a mere 
pretext. The present secession movement is the result of an enormous con- 
spiracy formed more than a year since, formed by leaders in the Southern 
Confederacy more than twelve months ago. 

They use the Slavery question as a means to aid the accomplishment of 
their ends. They desired the election of a Northern candidate, by a sectional 
vote, in order to show that the two sections cannot live together. When the 
history of the two years from the Lecompton charter down to the Presiden* 
tial election shall be written, it will be shown that the scheme was deliber- 
ately made to break up this Union. 

They desired a Northern Republican to be elected by a purely Northern 
yote, and then assign this fact as a reason why the sections may not longer 
live together. If the disunion candidate in the late Presidential contest 
had carried the united South, their scheme was, the Northern candidate suc- 
cessful, to seize the Capitol last spring, and by a united South and divided 
North hold it. That scheme was defeated in the defeat of the disunion candi- 
date in several of the Southern States. 

But this is no time for a detail of causes. The conspiracy is now known. 
Armies have been raised, war is levied to accomplish it. There are only two 
Bides to the question. Every man must be for the United States or against 
it. There can be no neutrals in this war; only patriots — or traitors. 

Thank God, Illinois is not divided on this question. (Cheers.) I know 
they expected to present a united South against a divided North. They 
hoped, in the Northern States, party questions would bring civil war between 
Democrats and Republicans, when the South would step in with her cohorts, 
aid one party to conquer the other, and then make easy prey of the victors. 
Their scheme was carnage and civil war in the North. 

There is but one way to defeat this. In Illinois it is being so defeated by 
closing up the ranks. War will thus be prevented on our own soil. While 
there was a hope of peace I was ready for any reasonable sacrifice or com- 
promise to maintain it. But when the question comes of war in the cotton- 
fields of the South or the corn-fields of Illinois, I say the farther off the 

We cannot close our eyes to the sad and solemn fact that war does exist. 
The Government must be maintained, its enemies overthrown, and the more 
stupendous our preparations the less the bloodshed, and the shorter the 
struggle. But we must remember certain restraints on our action even in 
time of war. We are a Christian people, and the war must be prosecuted in 
a manner recognized by Christian nations. 

We must not invade Constitutional rights. The innocent must not suffer, 
■or women and children be the victims. Savages must not be let loose. But 
while I sanction no war on the rights of others, I will implore my country 


men not to lay down their arms until our own rights are recognized 

The Constitution and its guarantees are our birthright, and I am ready to 
enforce that inalienable right to the last extent. We cannot recognize seces- 
sion. Recognize it once, and you have not only dissolved government, but 
you have destroyed social order, upturned the foundations of society. You 
have inaugurated anarchy in its worst form, and will shortly experience all 
the horrors of the French Revolution. 

Then we have a solemn duty — to maintain the Government. The greater 
our unanimity the speedier the day of peace. We have prejudices to overcome 
from the few short months since of a fierce party contest. Yet these must be 
allayed. Let us lay aside all criminations and recriminations as to the origin 
of these difficulties. When -vye shall have again a country with the Unitei 
States flag floating over it, and respected on every inch of American soil, it 
will then be time enough to ask who and what brought all this upon us. 

I have said more than I intended to say. (Cries of " Go on.") It is a sad 
task to discuss questions so fearful as civil war; but sad as it is, bloody and 
disastrous as I expect it will be, I express it as my conviction before God, 
that it is the duty of every American citizen to rally round the flag of his 

I thank you again lor this magnificent demonstration. By it you show 
you have laid aside party strife. Illinois has a proud position — united, firm, 
determined never to permit the Government to be destroyed. (Prolonged 

Not long afterward he was attacked with an acute disease, 
of which he expired at tea minutes past nine o'clock in the 
morning of the fourth of June, 1861, shortly after the com- 
pletion of the forty-eighth year of his age. 

The career of Mr, Douglas as a statesman, will ever form 
a brilliant and familiar portion of our country's history. As 
a public man, he was prompt, enterprising and persistent. 
At the very outset of his legislative career, he identified his 
name with two of the most popular and useful public works 
in Illinois, by proposing as a member of his legislature, a 
series of resolutions recommending their early construction. 
The one, the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which opens up a 
communication with the waters flowing into the Gulf of 
Mexico, and those flowing into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 
The other, the Illinois Central Railroad, which furnishes aD 


overland connection between the upper Mississippi and Lake 
Michigan, and the main Mississippi at Cairo. And after- 
wards he materially contributed to the completion of the 
"latter improvement, bj his influence as a Senator of the 
United States, in procuring the grant of land made by 
Congress for that purpose. This was a proud triumph of 
persevering statesmanship, and will long endure as a worthy 
monument to his fame. Its priceless benefits are to-day 
hailed by all Illinoisans as marking a new and joyous era in 
the history of their beloved State. 

As a debater, Mr. Douglas was great, truly great, in the 
dexterous use of passing facts and familiar circumstances. 
In this he was probably greater than any of his illustrious 
contemporaries. This was the type of his mind — it was his 
forte. Less eloquent than Clay, less logical than Webster, 
less versatile than Benton, he was the superior of them all in 
the readiness of his intellect and the distinctness and clear- 
ness of his statements as a public speaker. He was always 
unostentatious, copious, clear, and forcible. As an extempore 
speaker, his capabilities were transcendant and amazing, and 
unquestionably placed him in the first rank of debaters of 
any age and country. 

As an orator, his manner was peculiar to himself. Although 
possessing but little of the qualities of the rhetorician, and 
still less of the art of the theatrical declaimer, yet his action 
was far from ungraceful, while his voice was singularly full 
and sonorous. What he lacked as a rhetorical declaimer, he 
more than made up by the earnestness and vehemence of his 
delivery. Like Demosthenes, whose style he appears to 
have cultivated, he was always in earnest, ever on fire. His 
power over his hearers was often demonstrated by his success 
in swaying Senates and controlling the violence of the 

In his social characteristics he was remarkable for the 


singular magnetism of iiis personal presence, the talisraanic 
touch of his kindly hand, the gentle amenities of his domestic 
life, and the ineradicable clasp of his friendships. These are 
the pearls beneath the rough shells of his political life. 

Many will recall the gentle tone and cordial greeting with 
which he used to woo and win, and hold the young partisans 
of his faith, and the warm promoters of his success. Ever 
ready with his counsel, his means, and his energies, he led 
them as much by the persuasiveness of his heart, as the 
logic of his head. The same gentle demeanor which fondled 
his children and taught them a beauty of manners beyond all 
praise, the same pure respect and tenderness with which he 
treated his noble wife and companion, silvered the cords of 
attachment which bound his friends to him, and made his 
home at Washington and his sojourns elsewhere, recollec- 
tions as sweet as memory can embalm. 

His devotion to the Union was strong even in death. 
Could there be a more solemn, a more touching, a more 
affecting scene, than when the angel of death was flapping 
his broad wing over the emaciated frame of this intellectual 
giant, when the grave was opening to receive him, and 
when, in a moment of apparent consciousness, his lovely and 
loving and devoted wife asked the dying statesman if he had 
any message to send to his two sons ? When not hearing, 
or not understanding the question, she knelt over him and 
whispered it once more in that ear so soon to be as deaf to 
sound as the clod that covers him. Rallying for a moment, 
his eye flashing, his whole frame dilating, "Tell them," said 


THE TJnh'ed States." 

His last utterance was the fit climax of a life devoted to 
the study of this Government, and of a patriotism which 
never swerved from its love for the Union. It was worth 
whole battalions of armed men. A word from him made 


calm from tempest, and resolved doubt into dutj. His 
thought swayed the tides of public opinion as vassals to his 
will. After his hot contests in the Senate during the first 
session of the last Congress (1860-61), after his heroic 
campaign in the South, closing at Norfolk in his courageous 
reply to the disunionists ; after his struggles for the last few 
months, when he strung his energies to the utmost in plead- 
ing for peace and conciliation ; after all had failed, and 
anarchy stalked with haughty head through the land, and 
even jeopardized the metropolis of the nation, it was the 
consummate glory of his life to have given his last and most 
emphatic utterance for the maintainance of the Government, 
even though its administration was given to his old political 
antagonist, and although he knew that such expression 
imperilled the lives of a hundred thousand of his friends. 

May his countrymen ever remember his dying counsels, 
and so well maintain the Constitution which he loved, that by 
the re-union of the divided members of our Republic, they 
who drew from his noble life so many political blessings, may 
receive a great benefit even from his lamented and untimely 
death. But be the issue what it may, his fame is forever 
printed in the hearts of the American people. From the 
Green Mountains of his native State to the white tops of the 
Pacific Sierras, while the heavens bend above our land to 
bless it, the rivers roll and the mountains stand to unite it, 
or the ceaseless interchange of traffic and thought goes on by 
6ea and rail — by telegraph or post — the people of America, 
from whose midst as a poor boy, by his own self-reliance he 
sprung, will preserve in the pantheon of their hearts, to an 
immortal memory, the name of — 

Stephen Aknold Douglas. 


Delivered in the City Hall^ Chicago^ Illinois^ Oct. 23, 1850. 

The agitation on the subject of slavery now raging through the 
breadth of the land presents a most extraordinary spectacle. Congress, 
after a protracted session of nearly ten months, succeeded in passing 
a system of measures, which are believed to be just to all parts of the 
Republic, and ought to be satisfactory to the people. The South has 
not triumphed over the North, nor has the North achieved a victory 
over the South. Neither party has made any humiliating concessions 
to the other. Each has preserved its honor, while neither has sur- 
rendered an important right, or sacrificed any substantial interest. 
The measures composing the scheme of adjustment are believed to 
be in harmony with the principles of justice and the Constitution. 

And yet we find that the agitation is re-opened in the two extremes 
of the Union with renewed vigor and increased violence. In some 
of the southern States, special sessions of the legislatures are being 
called for the purpose of organizing systematic and efficient measures 
of resistance to the execution of the laws of the land, and for the 
adoption of disunion as the remedy. In the northern States, munici- 
pal corporations, and other organized bodies of men, are nullifying 
the acts of Congress, and raising the standard of rebellion against 
the authority of the Federal Government. 

At the South, the measures of adjustment are denounced as a dis- 
graceful surrender of southern rights to northern abolitionism.^ 

At the North, the same measures are denounced with equal violence 
aa a total abandonment of the rights of freemen to conciliate the slave 

The southern disunionists repudiate the authority of the highest 
judicial tribunal on earth, upon the ground that it is a pliant and 
corrupt instrument in the hands of northern fanaticism. 

The northern nullifiers refuse to submit the points at issue to the 
same exalted tribunal, upon the ground that the Supreme Court of 
the United States is a corrupt and supple instrument in the hands of 
the southern slavocracy. _ ^ 

For these contradictory reasons lihe people in both sections ol th« 


Union are called upon to resist the laws of the land, and the authority 
of the Federal Government, by violence, even unto death and disunion. 

Strange and contradictory positions ! 

Both cannot be true, and I trust in God neither may prove to be. 
We have fallen on evil times, vp^hen passion, and prejudice, and ambi- 
tion, can so blind the judgments and deaden the consciences cl men, 
that the truth cannot be seen and felt. The people of the North, or 
the South, or both, are acting under a fatal delusion. Should we not 
pause, and reflect, and consider, whether we, as well as they, have 
not been egregiously deceived upon this subject ? It is my purpose 
this evening to give a candid and impartial exposition of these mea- 
sures, to the end that the truth may be known. It does not become 
a free people to rush madly and blindly into violence, and bloodshed, 
and death, and disunion, without first satisfying our consciences upon 
whose souls tlie guilty consequences must rest. 

The measures, known as the adjustment or compromise scheme, 
are six in number : 

1 . The admission of California, with her free constitution. 

2. The creatiou of a Territorial government for Utah, leaving the 
people to regulate their own domestic institutions. 

3. The creation of a Territorial government for New Mexico, with 
like provisions. 

4. The adjustment of the disputed boundary with Texas. 

5. The abolition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia. 

6. The Fugitive Slave Bill. 

The first three of these measures — California, Utah, and New 
Mexico — I prepared with my own hands, and reported from the 
Committee on Territories, as its chairman, in the precise shape in 
which they now stand on the statute-book, with one or two unimportant 
amendments, for which I also voted. I, therefore, hold myself res- 
ponsible to you, as my constituents, for those measures as they passed. 
If there is anytliing wrong in them, hold me accountable ; if there is 
anything of merit, give the credit to those who passed the bills. 
These measures are predicated on the great fundamental principle that 
every people ought to possess the right of forming and regulating 
their own internal concerns and domestic institutions in their own 
way. It was supposed that those of our fellow-citizens who emi- 
grated to the shores of the Pacific and to our other territories, were 
as capable of self-government as their neighbors and kindred whom 
tliey left behind them ; and there was no reason for b^jlieving that 
they have lost any of their intelligence or patriotism by the wayside, 
while crossing the Isthmus or the Plains. It was also believed, that 
after their arrival in the country, when they had become familiar 
with its topography, chraate, productions, and resources, and had con- 
nected their destiny with it, they were fully as competent to judge for 
themselves what kind of lav/s and institutions were best adapted to 
their condition and interests, as we were who never saw the country, 
^d knew \c y little about it. To question their competency to dn 


tl:it^ was to deny their capacity for self-government. If they I'uve 
the requisite intelligence and honesty to be intrusted with theenaot- 
ment of laws for the government of white men, I know of no reason 
why tLey sliould not be deemed competent to legislate for tiie negro. 
If thej are suffici .ntly enlightened to make laws for the [)rotection 
of life, liberty, and property — of morals and education — to determine 
the relation of husband and wife — of parent and cliild — I am not 
aware that it requires any liigher degree of civilization to regulate 
the atfairs of master and servant. Tliese things are all confided by 
the OonstitutioQ of each State to decide for itself, and I know of no 
reason why the same principle should not be extended to the Terri- 
tories. My votes and acts have been in accordance with these views 
in all cases, except the instances in which I voted under your 
instructions. Those were your votes, and not mine. I entered my 
protest against them at the time — before and after they were recorded 
— and shall never hold myself responsible for them. I believed then, 
and believe now, that it was better for the cause of freedom, of 
humanity, and of republicanism, to leave the people interested to 
settle all these questions for themselves. They have intellect and 
consciences as well as we, and have more interest in doing that 
which is best for themselves and their posterity, than we have as 
their self-constituted and officious guardians. I deem it fortunate for 
the peace and harmony of the country that Congress, taking the 
saine view of the subject, rejected the Proviso, and passed tlie biUa 
in the shape in which I originally reported them. So far as slavery 
is concerned, I am sure that any man who will take the pains to 
examine the history of the question, will come to the conclusion that 
this is the true policy, as well as the sound republican doctrine. Mr. 
Douglas here went into a historical view of the subject, to show 
that slavery had never been excluded in fact from one inch of the 
American continent by act of Congress. When the federal Consti- 
tution was formed in '87, twelve of the thirteen States, then compos- 
ing the Confederation, held slaves, and sustained the institution of 
slavery by their laws. Since that period slavery had been abol- 
ished in six of these twelve original slave States. How was thia 
effected ? Not by an act of Congress. JSTot by the interposition of 
the Federal Government. Congress had no power over the subject, 
and never attempted to interfere with it. Slavery was abolished in 
those States by the people of each, acting for themselves, and upon 
their own motion and responsibility. The people became convinced 
.Siat it was for their own interests, and the interests of their posterity, 
pecuniarily and morally, and they did it of their own free will, and 
rigidly enforced their own laws. 

So it was in the territor/'northwest of the Ohio River. By the act 
of Congress, known as the Ordinance of 'ST, slavery was prohib''jed 
by law, but not excluded in fact. Slavery existed in the Territ ,/ries 
of Illinois and Indiana, in spite of the Ordinance, under the authority 
of the Territorial laws. Illinois was a alaveb oldiag Territory in d© 


Sanoe of the act of Congress, but became a free State by the action 
of our own people, when they framed our State constitution, prepa- 
ratory to their admission into the Union. So it was with Indiana. 
Oregon prohibited slavery by the action of her people under their 
provisional government, several years before Congress established 
a Territorial government. In short, wherever slavery has been 
excluded, and free institutions established, it has been done by the 
voluntary action of the people interested. Wherever Congress at- 
tempted to interfere in opposition to the wishes of the people of the 
Territory, its enactments remained a dead letter upon the statute- 
book, and the people took such legislative action as comported with 
their inclinations and supposed interests. 

Mr. Douglas then referred to the country acquired from Mexico, 
and called the attention of the audience to the fact, that the aboli- 
tionists had all predicted that slavery would certainly be introduced 
into those territories, unless Congress interfered and prohibited it by 
law, and condemned him because he was opposed to such interfer- 
ence. The problem is now solved. What was then a matter o 
opinion and disputation, has become a historical fact. Time has 
settled the controversy, and shown who was right and who was 
wrong. The Wilmot Proviso was not adopted. Congress did not 
prohibit slavery in tbose territories, and yet slavery does not exist in 
them. In California, it was prohibited by the people in the consti- 
tution with which that State was admitted into the Union. It is 
well known that the people of New Mexico, when they formed a 
constitution with the view of asking admission, also prohibited sla- 
very. These facts show conclusively that all the predictions of the 
abolitionists upon this subject have been falsified by history, and that 
my own have been literally fulfilled. I refer to these facts, not in the 
spirit of self-gratulation, but to show that these men, who have 
alarmed the friends of freedom, and for a time partially controlled 
the popular sentiment, were themselves mistaken, and misled their 
followers ; at the same time that their doctrine was at war with the 
whole spirit of our republican institutions. 

But let us return to the measures immediately under discussion. 
It must be conceded that the question of the admission of California 
was not free from difficulty, independently of the subject of sla- 
very. There were many irregularities in the proceedings ; in fact, 
every step in her application for admission was irregular, when 
viewed with reference to a literal compliance with the most approved 
rules and usages in the admission of new States. On the other hand, 
it should be borne in mind that this resulted from the necessity of 
the case. Congress had failed to perfory^ its duty — had established 
Uv^ Territorial government, and made no provision for her admission 
int. > the Union. She was left without government, and was there- 
fore compelled to provide one for herself She could not conform 
to rules which had not been established, nor comply with laws which 
CJongress had failed to enact. The same irregularities had occurred. 


however, and been waived, in the admission of other States uadeT 
peculiar circumstances. True, they had not all occurred in the case 
of any one State ; but some had in one, others in another ; so that, 
by looking into the circumstances attending the admission of each of 
the new States, we find that all of these irregularities, as they are 
called, had intervened and been waived in the course of our legisla- 
tive history. Besides, the territory of California was too extensive 
for one State, (if we are to adopt the old States as a guide in carving 
out new ones,) being about three times the size of New York; and 
her boundaries were unnatural and unreasonable, disregarding the 
topography of the country, and embracing the whole mining region 
and her coast in the limits. Thus it will be seen that the slavery 
question was not the only real difficulty that the admission of Cali- 
fornia presented to the minds of calm and reflecting men ; although 
it cannot be denied that it was the exciting cause, which stimulated 
a large portion of the people in one section to demand her instant 
admission, and in the other, to insist upon her unconditional rejec- 
tion. Even in this point of view, I humbly conceive that the ultras 
in each extreme of the republic acted under a misconception 'of their 
true interests and real policy. The whole of California — from the 
very nature of the country, her rocks and sands, elevation above the 
sea, climate, soil, and productions — was bound to be free territory 
by the decision of her own people, no matter when admitted or how 
divided. Hence, if considered with reference to the preponderance 
of political power between the free and slaveholding States, it was 
manifestly the true policy of the South to include the whole country 
in one State ; while the same reasons should have induced the North 
to subdivide it into as many States as the extent of the territory 
would justify. But, in my opinion, it was not proper for Congress 
to act upon any such principle. We should know no North, no 
South, in our legislation, but look to the interests of the whole coun- 
try. By our action in this case, the rights and privileges of Califor- 
nia and the Pacific coast were principally to be aifected. By erect- 
ing the country into one State instead of three, the people are to be 
represented in the Senate by two in the place of six senators. If 
their interests suflTer in consequence, they can blame no one but 
themselves, for Congress only confirmed what they had previously 
done. The problem in relation to slavery should have been much 
more easily solved. It was a question which concerned the people 
of California alone. The other States of the Union had no interest 
in it, and no right to interfere with it. South Carolina settled that 
question within her own limits to suit herself; Illinois has decided it 
in a manner satisfactory to her own people ; and apon what ])rin- 
ciple are we to deprive the people of the State of California of a right 
which is common to every State in the Union? 

The bills establishing Territorial governments for Utah and New 
Mexico are silent upon the subject of slavery, except the provision 
that, when they should be admitted into the Union as St.ntes, eacls 


should decide the question of slavery for itself. This latter provision 
was not incorporated in my original bills, for the reason that I con- 
ceived it to involve a principle so clearly deducible from the Consti- 
tution that it was unnecessary to embody it in the form of a legal 
enactment. Bat when it was olfered as an amendment to the bills, 
I cheerfuDj voted for it, lest its rejection should be deemed a denial 
of the principle asserted in it. The abolitionists of the North pro- 
fess to regard these bills as a total abandonment of the principles of 
freedom, because they do not contain an express prohibition of sla- 
very ; while the ultras of the South denounce the same measures as 
equiva>nt to the Wilmot Proviso. 

Of the Texas boundary I have but little to say, for the reason that 
I have scarcely heard it alluded to since my return home, although 
many complaints are made against it in other portions of the free 
States. It was an unfortunate dispute, which could result in no 
practical benefit to either party, no matter how decided. The Terri- 
tory in controversy was of no considerable value. If there was a 
spot on the face of the American continent more worthless than any 
other ; if there was a barren waste more desolate — sands more arid, 
and rocks more naked than all others — it was the country in dispute 
between Texas and the United States. Distant from navigation, and 
almost inaccessible for want of means of communication ; void of 
timber, fuel, water, or soil, Avith the exception of here a-nd there a 
nook in the gorges of the mountains, it was entirely useless, save as 
it aiforded hiding-places for the wild and roaming savages. And yet 
the controversy was none the less serious and fierce in consequence 
of the barrenness of the country. Texas believed it to be hers, and 
deemed it a point of honor to maintain her title at all hazards and 
against all odds. Many of the States entertained doubts of the vali- 
dity of the Texan claim, while others considered it entirely without 
foundation. In this state of the case, each party having partial pos- 
session, was mustering troops to render its possession complete to 
the exclusion of the other. Many of the slaveholding States, from 
sympathy with the peculiar institutions of Texas, were preparing to 
array themselves on the one side, while most of the free States, from 
aversion to those institutions, were expected to array themselves on 
the other. Thus were we plunging headlong and madly into a civil 
war, involving results which no human wisdom could foresee, and 
consequences which could be contemplated only with horror. 

Fortunately this unnatural struggle was averted by the timely and 
judicious interposition of Congress. The Committee on Territories, 
to whom the subject had been referred, found it impossible to ascer- 
tain and agree upon the true boundary line of Texas, and accord- 
ingly authorized me, as their chairman, to report a bill for adjusting 
the boundary upon an arbitrary but convenient line, drawn through 

che centre of the desert, and to pay Texas dollars for relin 

quishing her claim to the waste lands outside of that line. I, there- 
fore, reported this provision, at the same time that I brought in tha 



liills for California, Utah, and New Mexico, with the intention of 
moving to fill the blank with ten millions of dollars. When the 
Committee of Thirteen, which was subsequently appointed, united 
into one the several bills which had been reported by the Commilj- 
tee on Territories, and thus formed what has been known as the 
" Omnibus Bill," they made a slight change in the line which had 
been agreed upon by the Territorial Committee. Upon the defeat 
of the Omnibus, Mr. Pearce, of Maryland, brought in a separate bill 
for adjusting this boundary, predicated upon the principle, also, of 
an arbitrary but convenient line through the Desert, changing the 
courses, however, so as to obviate some objections which have been 
urged to the others, and paying Texas ten millions of dollars for re- 
linquishing her claim. This bill, after having been joined in the 
House of Representatives to the bill establishing a Territorial gov- 
ernment for New Mexico, passed both houses, and became the law 
of the land. The people of Texas have since ratified it at the polls 
by an overwhelming majority ; and thus this dangerous element of 
agitation has been withdrawn from the controversy by the mutual 
assent of the parties. And yet there are organized parties, in both 
extremes of the Union, who are striving to reopen the controversy 
by persuading the people that the rights and interests of their own 
particular section have been basely betrayed in the settlement of 
this question. At the South, it is boldly proclaimed, and every 
where repeated, that sixty thousand square miles of slave territory 
have been sold and converted into free soil. On the other hand, 
the northern nullifiers and abolitionists are industriously impressing 
it upon the people that more than fifty thousand square miles oifree 
soil have been transferred to Texas, and converted into slave terri- 
tory by the act of Congress adjusting the Texas boundary. Such 
are the extremities to which prejudice and ambition can lead des- 
perate men! ISTeither party has gained or lost anything, so far as 
the question of slavery is concerned. Texas has gained ten millions 
of dollars, and the United States have saved, in blood and treasure, 
the expenses of a civil war. 

The next in the series of measures was the bill for the abolition ol 
the slave trade in the District of Columbia. This bill was prepared 
and reported by the Committee of Thirteen, and 1 gave it my cordial 
support. I has been represented at the South as a concession to the 
North, to induce us to perform our duties under the Constitution in 
the surrender of fugitives from labor, and much opposition has been 
raised against the whole scheme of adjustment on that account. I 
did not regard it in that light. My vote was given upon no such con- 
siderations. I believed each of the measures substantially right in 
itself, and, under the extraordinary circumstances by which we were 
surrounded, eminently wise and expedient. The bill does not abolish 
slavery in the District — does not emancipate the few slaves that aro 
there, and interferes with no man's right of property. It simply 
provides that slaves shall not be brought from the surrounding 

10 TfiE LIFE ANi) gPEEOHES 01^ 

States, or elsewhere, into the District for sale. Tn this respect, Con 
gress only followed the example of the legislatures of Maryland, 
North Carolina, Kentucky, and, in fact, most of the slaveholding 
States. The country embraced within the limits of the District of 
Columbia, therefore, stands in precisely the same relation to the 
slave trade under this law, that it would have stood under the laws 
of Maryland, if it had never been separated from that State. What 
justification can there be then, for the assertion that this was a con- 
cession to the North ? It does nothing more nor less than to apply the 
general principles of the legislation of a majority of the southern 
States to the District of Columbia. But, while it was no concession 
from one section to the other, I had a right to expect that those 
modern philanthropists who have declaimed so eloquently and vio- 
lently against the disgrace of the National Capitol, by the slave trade 
within its precincts, would have rejoiced with exceeding joy at the 
passage of this act. I have listened in vain for one word of appro - 
val or commendation from the advoc :tes of abolition or nullification. 
While the whole series of Compromise measures are denounced in 
coarse and unmeasured terms, not one word of congratulation to the 
friends of freedom — not a word of approval of the act or of the 
conduct of those who voted for it — is allowed to escape their lips. 
All the other measures of the scheme of adjustment are attempted 
to be kept in the background, and concealed from the public view, 
in order that more prominence and importance may be given to 
what they are pleased to call "The infamous Fugitive Slave Bill." 

Before I proceed to the exposition of that bill, I will read the pre- 
amble and resolutions passed by the Common Council of this city, 
night before last. 

Mr. Douglas then read as follows : 

" Whereas, The Constitution of the United States provides that the privilege 
of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in cases of 
rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it ; and, 

" Whereas, The late act of Congress purporting to be for the recovery of 
fufitive slaves, virtually suspends the habeas corpus, and abolishes the right 
of trial bj' jury, and by its provisions, not only fugitive slaves, but white men, 
' owing service' to another in another State viz., the apprentice, the mecha- 
nic, the farmer, the laborer engaged on contract or otherwise, whose terms of 
BCL'vice are unexpired, may be captured and carried olf summarily, and without 
legal resource of any kind ; and, 

'• Whereas, No law can be legally or morally binding onus which violates 
the provisions of the Constitution ; and, 

" Whereas, Above all, in the responsibilities of human life, and the practice 
and propagation of Christianity, the laws of God should be held paramount to 
all human compacts and statutes : Therefore, 

" Resolved, That the Senators and Representatives in Congress from the free 
Btates, who aided and assisted in the passage of this infamous law, and those 
who baselj'' sceaked away from their seats, and thereby evaded the question, 
richly merit the reproach of all lovers of freedom, and are fit only to be ranked 
with the traitors, Benedict Arnold and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed bis Lcrs? 
and Master for thirty pieces of silver. 

**And Resolv&d. That the citizens, officers, and police of the city b'i, and 


they are hereby requested to abstain from all iuterference in the capture aud 
delivering up of the fugitive from unrighteous oppression, of whatever nation, 
name, or color. 

" Resolved, That the Fugitive Slave Law lately passed by Congress is a cruel 
and unjust law, and ought not to be respected by any intelligent community, 
and that this Council will not require the city police to render any assistance 
for the arrest of fugitive slaves. 

" Ayes — Aid. Miliiken, Loyd, Sherwood, Poss, Throop, Sherman, Richards. 
Brady and Dodge. 

" Nays — Aid. Page and Williams." 

But for the passage of these resolutions, said Mr. D., I should not 
have addressed you this evening, nor, indeed, at any time before mj 
return to the Capitol. I have no desire to conceal or withhold -my 
opinions, no wish to avoid the responsibility of a full and frank 
expression of them, upon this and all other subjects which were 
embraced in the action of the last session of Congress. My reasons 
for wishing to avoid public discussion at this time, were to be found 
in the state of my health and the short time allowed me to remain 
among you. 

Now to the resolutions. I make no criticism upon the language 
in which they are expressed ; that is a matter of taste, and in every 
thing of that kind I defer to the superior refinement of our city 
fathers. But it cannot be disguised that the polite epithets of 
" traitors, Benedict Arnold, and Judas Iscariot, w^ho betrayed hia 
Lord and Master for thirty pieces of silver," will be understood 
abroad as having direct personal application to my esteemed col- 
league. Gen. Shields, and myself. Whatever may have been the inten- 
tion of those who voted for the resolutions, I will do the members 
of council the justice to say, that I do not believe they intended to 
make any such application. But their secret intentions are of little 
consequence, when they give their official sanction to a charge of 
iniamy, clothed in such language that every man who reads it must 
give it a personal application. The whole aftair, however, looks 
strange, and even ludicrous, when contrasted with the cordial recep- 
tion and public demonstrations of kindness and confidence, and even 
gratitude for supposed services, extended to my colleague and myself 
upon our arrival in this city one week ago. Then we were welcomed 
home as public benefactors, and invited to partake of a public dinner, 
by an invitation numerously signed by men of all parties and shades 
of opinion. The invitation had no pooner been declined, for reasons 
which were supposed to be entirely satisfactory, and my colleague 
staited for his home, than the Common Council, who are presumed to 
speak officially for the whole population of the city, attempted to 
brand their honored guests with infamy, and denounce them as Bene- 
dict Arnolds and Judas Iscariots! I have read somewhere that it 
was a polite custom, in other countries and a difl:erent age, to invite 
those whom they secretly wished to destroy to a feast, in order to 
secure a more convenient opportunity of administering the hemlock I 
I acquit the Common Council of any design of introducing that cui»toi» 


into our hospitable city. But I have done with this subject, so fai 
as it has a personal bearing. 

It is a far more important and serious matter, when riewed with 
reference to the principles involved, and the consequences which 
may result. The Common Council of the city of Chicago have 
assumed to themselves the right, and actually exercised the power, 
of determining the validity of an act of Congress, and have declared 
it void upon the ground that it violates the Constitution of the 
United States and the law of God ! They have gone furthei-*; they 
declared, by a solemn, official act, that a law passed by Congress 
"ought not to be respected by any intelligent community," and 
have called upon " the citizens, officers, and police of the city" 
to abstain from rendering any aid or assistance in its execution! 
What is this but naked, unmitigated nullification ? An act of the 
American Congress nullified by the Common Council of the city of 
Chicago! Whence did the council derive their authority? I have 
been able to find no such provision in the city charter, noi- am I 
aware that the legislature of Illinois is vested with any rightful 
power to confer such authority. I have yet to learn that a subordi- 
nate municipal corporation is licensed to raise the standard of rebel- 
lion, and throw oif the authority of the Federal Government at 
pleasure! This is a great improvement upon South Carolinian nul- 
lification. It dispenses with the trouble, delay, and expense of con- 
vening legislatures and assembling conventions of the people, for the 
purpose of resolving themselves back into their original elements, 
preparatory to the contemplated revolution. It has the high merit 
of marching directly to its object, and by a simple resolution, writ- 
ten and adopted on the same night, relieving the people from their 
oaths and allegiance, and of putting the nation and its laws at defi- 
ance ! It nas heretofore been supposed by men of antiquated notions, 
who have not kept up with the progress of the age, that the Supreme 
Court of the United States was invested with the power of deter- 
mining the validity of an act of Congress passed in pursuance of the 
forms of the Constitution, This was the doctrine of the entire 
North, and of the nation, when it became necessary to exert the 
whole power of the government to put down nullification in 
another portion of the Union, But the spirit of the age is progres- 
sive, and is by no means confined to advancement in the arts and 
physical sciences. The science of politics and of government is also 
rapidly advancing to maturity and perfection. It is not long since 
that I heard an eminent lawyer propose an important reform in the 
admirable judicial system of our State, which he thought would 
render it perfect. It was so simple and eminently practicable, that 
it could not fail to excite the admiration of even the casual inquirer. 
His proposition was, that our judicial system should be so improved 
as to allow an appeal on all constitutional questions from the Supreme 
Court of this State to two justices of the peace ! When that shall 
have been effected, but one other '-efoi^ii will be necessary to rendw 


onr natioual system perfect, siud that is, to change the federal Con- 
stitution, so as to authorize an appeal, upon all questions touching 
the validity of acts of Congress, from the Supreme Court of the 
United States to the Common Council of the city of Chicago ! 

So much for the general principles involved in the acts of the 
council. I will now examine briefly the specific ground of objection 
urged by the council against tlie Fugitive Slave Bill, as reasons why 
it should not be obeyed. 

The objections are two in number : first, that it suspends the writ 
of habeas corpus in the time of peace, in violation of the Constitu- 
tion ; secondly, that it abolishes the right of trial by jury. 

How the council obtained the information that these two odious 
provisions were contained in the law, I am unable to divine. One 
thing is certain, that the members of the council, who voted for these 
resolutions, had never read the law, or they would have discovered 
their mistake. There is not one word in it in respect to the writ of 
habeas corpus or the right of trial by jury. ISTeither of these sub- 
jects is mentioned or referred to. The law is entirely silent on 
those points. Is it to be said that an act of Congress which is 
silent on the subject, ought to be construed to repeal a great consti- 
tutional right by implication ? Besides, this act is only an amend- 
ment — amendatory to the old law — the act of 1793 — but does not 
repeal it. There is no difference between the original act and the 
amendment, in this respect. Both are silent in regard to the writ 
of habeas corpus and the right of trial by jury. If to be silent is to 
suspend the one and abolish the other, then the mischief was done 
by the old law fifty-seven years ago. If this construction be correct, 
the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended, and a trial by a jury 
abolished, more than half a century, without anybody ever discov- 
ering the fact, or, if knowing it, without uttering a murmur of com- 

Mr. Douglas then read the whole of the act of 1793, and compared 
its provisions with the amendment of last session, for the purpose 
of showing that the writ of habeas corpus and the right of triid by 
jury were not alluded to or interfered with by either. But I main- 
tain, said Mr. D., that the writ of habeas corpus is applicable to the 
case of the arrest of a fugitive under this law, in the same sense in 
which the Constitution intended to confer it, and to the fullest 
extent for which that writ is ever rightfully issued in any case. In 
this I am fully sustained by the opinion of Mr. Crittenden, the attor- 
ney-general of the United States. As soon as the bill passed the 
two houses of Congress, an abolition paper raised the alarm that 
the liabeas corpus bill had been suspended. The cry was eagerly 
caught up, and transmitted by lightning upon the wires, to every 
part of the Union, by those whose avocation is agitation. The 
President of the United States, previous to signing the bill, referred 
it to the attorney -general, for his opinion upon the point whether 
any portion of it violated any provision of the Constitution of tLe 



United States, and especially whether it could possibly he construed 
to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. I have the answer of the 
attorney- general before me, in which he gives it as his decided 
opinion that every part of the law is entirely consistent with the 
Constitution, and that it does not suspend the writ of habeas corpus. 
I would commend the argument of the attorney-general to the 
careful perusal of those who have doubts upon the subject. Upon 
the presentation of this opinion, and with entire confidence in its 
correctness. President Fillmore signed the bill. 

[Here Mr. Douglas was interrupted by a person present, who 
called his attention to the last clause of the 6th section of the bill, 
which he read, and asked him what construction he put upon it, if 
it did not suspend the writ of habeas corpus.] 

Mr. Douglas, in reply, expressed his thanks to the gentleman who 
propounded the inquiry. His object was to meet every point, and 
remove every doubt that could be possibly raised ; and he expressed 
the hope that every gentleman present would exercise the privilege 
of asking him questions upon all points upon which he was not fully 
satisfied. He then proceeded to answer the question which had been 
propounded. That section of the bill provides for the arrest of the 
fugitive and the trial before the commissioner ; and if the facts of 
servitude, ownership, and escape be established by competent evi- 
dence, the commissioner shall grant a certificate to that effect, which 
certificate shall be conclusive of the right of the person in whose 
favor it is issued to remove the fugitive to the State from which he 
fled. Then comes the clause which is supposed to suspend the habeas 
corpus : ^'■And shall prevent all molestatian of said person or person* 
iy any process issued ty any court^ judge^ magistrate^ or other person 

The question is asked, whether the writ of habeas corpus is not a 
"pEOOESs" within the meaning of this act? I answer, that it 
undoubtedly is such a " process," and that it may be issued by a ay 
court or judge having competent authority — not for the purpose of 
" molesting " a claimant, having a servant in his possession, with 
such a certificate from the commissioner or judge, but for the purpose 
of ascertaining the fact whether he has such a certificate or not ; 
and if so, whether it be in due form of law ; and if not, by what 
authority he holds the servant in custody. Upon the return of the 
writ of habeas corpus, the claimant will be required to exhibit to 
the court his authority for conveying that servant back ; and if he 
produces a " certificate " from the commissioner or judge in due 
form of law, the court will decide that it has no power to " molest 
the claimant " in the exercise of his rights under the law and the 
Constitution. But if the claimant is not able to produce such certi- 
ficate, or other lawful authority, or produces one which is not in 
oonformity with law, the court will set the alleged servant at hberty, 
for the very reason that the law has not been complied with. The 
sole object of the writ of habeas corpus is to ascertain bj what 



wi^hority a person is held in custody; to release him if no such 
authority be shown ; and to refrain from any molestation of tho 
claimant, if .egal authority be produced. The habeas corpus is 
necessary, therefore, to carry the fugitive law into eftect, and, at 
the same time, to prevent a violation of the rights of freemen under 
it. It is essential to the security of the claimant, as well as tha 
protection of the rights of those liable to be arrested under it. The 
reason that the writ of habeas corpus was not mentioned in the bill 
must be obvious. The object of the new law seems to have been, 
to amend the old one in those particulars wherein experience had 
proven amendments to be necessary, and in all other respects to leave 
it as it had stood from the days of Washington. The provisions of 
the old law have been subjected to the test of long experience — to 
the scrutiny of the bar and the judgment of the courts. The writ 
of habeas corpus had been adjudged to exist in all cases under it, 
and had always been resorted to when a proper case arose. In 
amending the law there was no necessity for any new provision upon 
this subject, because nobody desired to change it in this respect. 

But why this extraordinary effort, on the part of the professed 
friends of the fugitive, to force such a construction upon the law, in 
the absence of any such obnoxious provision, as to deprive him of 
the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus? The law does not do so 
in terms ; and if it is ever accomplished, it must be done by implica- 
tion, contrary to the understanding of those who enacted it, and in 
opposition to the practice of the courts, acquiesced in by tlie people, 
from the foundation of the government. One would naturally 
suppose, that if there was room for doubt as to what is the true 
construction, those who claim to be the especial and exclusive 
friends of tlae negro would contend for that construction which is 
most favorable to liberty, justice, and humanity. But not so. 
Directly the reverse is the fact. They exhaust their learning, and 
exert all their ingenuity and skill, to deprive the negro of all rights 
under the law. What can be the motive? Certainly not to protect 
the rights of the free, or to extend liberty to the oppressed ; for 
they strive to fasten upon the law such a construction as would 
defeat both of these ends. Can it be a political scheme, to reader 
the law odious, and to excite prejudice against all who voted for it, 
or were unavoidably absent when it passed ? No matter what the 
motive, the effects v/ould be disastrous to those whose rights they 
profess to cherish, if their efforts should be successful. 

Now, a word or two in regard to the right of trial by jury. The city 
council, in their resolutions, say that this law abolishes that right. 
1 have already shown you that tlie council are mistaken — that the 
law is silent upon the subject, and stands now precisely as it has 
stood for half a century. If the law is defective on that point, tho 
error was committed by our fathers in 1793, and the people have 
acquiesced in it ever since, without knowing of its existence or car- 
imj to remedy it. The new act neither takes away nor confers \L« 


right of trial by jury. It leaves it just were our fathers *aW thi 
Constitution left it under the old law. That the right oi trial bj 
jury exists in this country for all men, black or white, bond or free, 
guilty or innocent, no man will be disposed to question who under- 
stands the subject. The right is of universal application, and exists 
alike in all the States of Union ; it always has existed, and always 
will exist, so long as the Constitution of the United States shall be 
respected and maintained, in spite of the eflorts of the abolitionists 
to take it away by the perversion of the fugitive law. The only 
question is, ichere shall this jury trial take place ? Shall the jury trial 
be had in the State where the arrest is made, or the State from which 
the fugitive escaped? Upon this point the act of last session says 
nothing, and of course, leaves the matter as it stood under the law 
of '93. Tlje old law was silent on this point, and therefore left the 
courts to decide it in accordance with the Constitution. The highest 
judicial tribunals in the land have always held that the jury trial 
must take place in the State under whose jurisdiction the question 
arose, and whose laws were alleged to have been violated. The same 
construction has always been given to the law for surrendering fugi- 
tives from justice. It provides also for sending back the fugitive, 
but says nothing about the jury trial, or where it shall take place. 
"Who ever supposed that that act abolished the right of trial by jury ? 
Every day's practice and observation teach us otherwise. The jury 
trial is always had in the State from which the fugitive fled. So it 
is with a fugitive from labor. When he returns, or is surrendered 
under the law, he is entitled to a trial by jury of his right of free- 
dom, and always has it when he demands it. There is great unifor- 
mity in the mode of proceeding in the courts of the southern States 
in this respect. When the supposed slave sets up his claim, to the 
judge or other officer, that he is free, and claims his freedom, it be- 
comes the duty of the court to issue its summons to the master to 
appear in court with the alleged slave, and there to direct an issue 
of freedom or servitude to be made and tried by a jury. The master 
is also required to enter into bonds for his own appearance and that 
of the alleged slave at the trial of the cause, and that he will not 
remove the slave from the county or jurisdiction of the court in the 
mean time. The court is also required to appoint counsel to conduct 
the cause for the slave, while the master employs his own counsel. 
All the oilieers of the court are required by law to render all facili- 
ties to the slave for the prosecution of his suit free of charge, such as 
issuing and serving subpoenas for witnesses, etc. If upon the trial 
the alleged slave is held to be a free man, the master is required to 
pay the costs on both sides. If, on the other hand, he is held to be 
a slave, the State pays the costs. This is the way in which the trial 
by jury stood under the old law ; and the new one makes no change 
in this respect. If the act of last session be repealed, that wiU neither 
benefit nor injure the fugitive, so far as the right of trial by jury i^ 


For these two reasons — the habeas corpus and the trial by jury — th« 
(Jommon Council have pronounced the law unconstitutional, and de- 
clared that it ought not to be respected by an enlightened commtiuity. 
I have shown that neither of the objections are well founded, and that 
if they had taken the trouble to read the law before they nullified 
it, they would have avoided the mistake into which they have fallen. 
I have spoken of the acts of the city council in general terms, and it 
may be inferred that the vote was unanimous. 1 take pleasure in 
stating that I learn from the published proceedings that there was 
barely a quorum present, and that Aldermen Page and Williams 
voted in the negative. Having disposed of the two reasons assigned 
by the Common Council for the nullification of the law, I shall be 
greatly indebted to any gentleman who will point out any other 
objection to the new law, which does not apply with equal force to 
the old one. My object in drawing the parallel between the new 
and old law is this : The law of '93 was passed by the patriots and 
sages who framed our glorious Constitution, and approved by the 
father of his country. I have always been taught to believe that 
they were men well versed in the science of government, devotedly 
attached to the cause of freedom and capable of construing the Con- 
stitution in the spirit in which they made it. That act has been 
enforced and acquiesced in for more than half a century, without a 
murmur or word of complaint from any quarter. 

I repeat — will any gentleman be kind enough to point out a single 
objection to the new law, which might not be urged with equal pro- 
priety to the act of '93 ? 

[Here a gentleman present arose, and called the attention of Mr. 
Douglas to the penalties in the seventh section of the new law, and 
desired to know if there were any such obnoxious provisions in the 
old one.] 

Mr. Douglas then read the section referred to, and also the fourth 
section of the act of '93, and proceeded to draw the parallel between 
them. Each makes it a criminal offence to resist the due execution 
of the law ; to knowingly and willfully obstruct or hinder the claimant 
in the arrest of the fugitive ; to rescue such fugitive from the claim- 
ant when arrested ; to harbor or conceal such person after notice 
that he or she was a fugitive from labor. In this respect the two 
laws were substantially the same in every important particular. 
Indeed the one was almost a literal copy of the other. I can con- 
ceive of no act which would be an offence under the one, that would 
not be punishable under the other. In the speeches last night, great 
importance was given to the clause which makes it an offence to 
tiai'bor or conceal a fugitive. You wei-e told that you could not 
clotlie the naked, nor feed the hungry, nor exercise the c diuai7 
charities toward suffering humanity, without incurring the penalty 
of the law. Is this a true construction of that provision ? The act 
does not so read. The law says that you shall not " harbor or con- 
ceal Buch fugitive, so as to prevent the discovery and arrest of such 


person after notice or knowledge of the fact that such person was >« 
fugitive from service or labor as aforesaid." This does not deprive you 
of the privilege of extending charities to the fugitive. You may feed 
him, clothe him, may lodge him, provided you do not harbor or conceal 
him, so as to prevent discovery and arrest, after notice or knowledge 
that he is a fugitive. The offence consists in preventing the discovery 
and arrest of the fugitive after knowledge of the fact, and not in the 
extending kindness and charities to him. This is the construction 
put upon a similar provision in the old law by the highest judicial 
tribunals in the land. The only difference between the old law and 
the new one, in respect to obstructing its execution, is to be found 
in the amount of the penalty, and not in the principle involved. 

But it is further objected that the new law provides, in addition 
to the penalty, for a civil suit for damages, to be recovered by an action 
of debt by any court having jurisdiction of the cause. This is true ; 
but it is also true that a similar provision is to be found in the old 
law. The concluding clause in the last section of the act of '93 is aa 
follows : 

" Which penalty may be recovered by and for the benefit of such 
claimant, by action of debt, in any proper court to try the same ; 
saving, moreover, to the person claiming such labor or service, his right 
oj' action for or on account of the said injuries, or either of them.'''' 

Thus it will be seen, that upon this point there is no difference 
oetween the new and the old law. 

Is there any other provision of this law upon which explanation 
is desired ? 

[A gentleman present referred to the 10th section, and desired an 
explanation of the object and effect of the record from another State 
therein provided for.] 

I am glad, said Mr. D., that my attention has been called to that 
provision ; for I heard a construction given to it, in the speeches last 
night, entirely different to the plain reading and object of that sec- 
tion. It is said, that this provision authorizes the claimant to go 
before a court of record of the county and State where he lives, and 
there establish by ex-parte testimony, in the absence of the fugitive, 
the facts of servitude, of ownership, and escape ; and when a record 
of these facts shall have been made, containing a minute description 
of the slave, it shall be conclusive evidence against a person corres- 
ponding to that description, arrested in another State, and shall con- 
sign the person so arrested to perpetual servitude. The law con- 
templates no such thing, and authorizes no such result. I have the 
charity to believe that those who have put this construction upon 
it have not carefully examined it. The record from another State 
predicated upon " satisfactory proof to such court or judge" before 
whom the testimony may be adduced, and the record made, is to be 
condasive of two facts only : 

Ist. That the person named in this record does owe service to the 
person in whose behalf the record is made. 


2d. That such person has escaped from service. 

The language of the law is, that " the transcript (/ the r«cord 
Authenticated," etc., "shall be held and taken to be fu]i and conclu- 
sive evidence of the fact of escape, and that the servTOf> or labor of 
such person escaping is due to the party in such record i^eDtioned," 
The record is conclusive of these two facts, so far as to autiior? ze th<» 
fugitive to be sent back for trial under the laws of the State ir hence 
he fled ; but it is no evidence that the person arrested here is the fugi- 
tive named in the record. The question of identity is ty be provov 
here to the satisfaction of the commissioner or judge, before whoD, 
the trial is had, by " other and further evidence.'''' This is the grea 
point in the case. The whole question turns upon it. The man 
arrested may correspond to the description set forth in the record, 
and yet not be the same individual. We often meet persons resem- 
bling each other to such an extent that the one is frequently mis- 
taken for the other. The identity of the person becomes a matter 
of proof — a fact to be established by the testimony of competent 
and disinterested witnesses, and to be decided by the tribunal before 
whom the trial is had, conscientiously and impartially, accord- 
ing to the evidence in the case. The description in the record, 
unsupported by other testimony, is not evidence of the identity. It 
is not inserted for the especial benefit of the claimant — much less to 
the prejudice of the alleged slave. It is required as a test of truth, 
a safeguard against fraud, which will often operate favorably to the 
fugitive, but never to his injury. If the description be accurate and 
true, no injustice can possibly result from it. But if it be erroneous 
or false, the claimant is concluded by it ; and the fugitive, availing 
himself of the error, defeats the claim, in the same manner as a dis- 
crepancy between the allegations and the proof, in any other case, 
results to the advantage of the defendant. I repeat, that when an 
arrest is made under a record from another State, the identity of the 
person must be established by competent testimony. The trial in 
this instance, would be precisely the same as in the case o"f a white 
man arrested on a charge of being a fugitive from justice. The writ 
of the governor, predicated upon an indictment, or even an afiidavit 
from another State, containing the charge of crime, would be con- 
clusive evidence of the right to take the fugitive back ; but the 
identity of the person in that case, as well as a fugitive from labor, 
must be proven in the State where the arrest is made, by competent 
witnesses, before the tribunal provided by law for that purpose. In 
this respect, therefore, the negro is placed upon a perfect equality 
with the white man who is so unfortunate as to be charged with au 
otfeoce in another State, whether the charge by true or false. Id 
some respects, the law guards the rights of tlie negro, charged with 
Deing a fugitive from labor, more rigidly than it does tliose of a 
white man who is alleged to be a fugitive from justice. The record 
item another State must be predicated upon "proof satisfactory 
DO the court or judge" before whom it la made, and must set fortl* 


the "matter pi-oved," before it can be evidence against a fugitive 
from labor, or for any purpose ; whereas, an innocent wliifce man, 
who is so unfortunate as to be falsely charged with a crime in 
another State, by the simple affidavit of an unknown person, without 
mdictment or proof to the satisfaction of any court, is liable to be 
transported to the most distant portions of this Union for trial. 

Here we find the act of last session is a great improvement upon 
the law of '93 in reference to fugitives, white or black, whetlier they 
fled from justice or labor. But it is objected that the testimony 
before the court making the record is ex parte^ and therefore in vio- 
lation of the principles of justice and the Constitution ; because it 
deprives the accused of the privilege of meeting the witnesses face 
to face, and of cross-examination. Gentlemen forget that all pro- 
ceedings for the arrest of fugitives are necessarily ex parte^ from the 
nature of the case. They have fled beyond the jurisdiction of the 
court, and the object of the proceeding is, that they may be brought 
back, confront the witnesses, and receive a fair trial according to the 
Constitution and laws. If they would stay at home in order to 
attend the trial, and cross-examine the witnesses, the record would 
be unnecessary, and the fugitive law inoperative. It is no answer 
to this proposition to say that slavery is no crime, and therefore the 
parallel does not hold good. I am not speaking of the guilt or inno- 
cence of slavery. I am discussing our obligations under the Consti- 
tution of the tFnited States. That sacred instrument says that a 
fugitive from labor ^'^ shall le delivered up on tlie claim of the 
owner." The same clause of the same instrument provides that 
fugitives from justice shall be delivered up. We are bound by our 
oaths to our G-od to see that claim as v/ell as every other provision 
of the Constitution carried into effect. The moral, religious and 
constitutional obligations resting upon us, here and hereafter, are the 
same in the one case as in the other. As citizens, owing allegiance 
to the government and duties to society, we have no right to inter- 
pose our individual opinions and scruples as excuses for violating the 
supreme law of the land as our fathers made it, and as we are sworn 
to support it. The obligation is just as sacred, under the Constitu- 
tion, to surrender fugitives from labor, as fugitives from justice. And 
the Congress of the United States, according to the decision of the 
Supreme Court, are as imperatively commanded to provide the 
necessary legislation for the one as for the other. The act of 1793, 
to which I have had occasion to refer so frequently, and which has 
been read to you, provided for these two cases in the same bill. Tho 
first half of that act, relating to fugitives from justice, applies, from 
the nature and necessity of the case, principally to white men ; and 
the other half for the same reasons, applies exclusively to the negro 
race. I have shown you, by reading and comparing the two laws in 
your presence, that there is no constitutional guaranty- -or common 
law right — or legal, or judicial privilege — for the protection of rue 
•vhite man against oppression and injustice, under the law, frame«^ 


m 1^93, and now in force, for the surrender of fugitives from justice, 
that does not apply in all its force in behalf of the negro, when 
arrested as a fugitive from labor, under tlie act of the last session. 
What more can the friends of the negro ask than, in all his civil and 
legal rights under the Constitution, he shall be placed on an equai 
footing with the white man? But it is said that the law is suscepti- 
ble of being abused by perjury and false testimony. To what human 
enactment does not the same objection lie ? You, or I, or any other 
man, who was never in California in his life, is liable, under the 
Constitution, to be sent there in chains for trial as a fugitive from 
justice, by means of perjury and fraud. But does this fact prove 
that the Constitution, and the laws for carrying it into efiect, are 
wrong, and should be resisted, as we were told last night, even unto 
the dungeon, the gibbet and the grave ? It only demonstrates to us 
the necessity of providing all the safeguards that the wit of man caii 
devise, for the protection of the innocent and the free, at the same 
time that we religiously enforce, according to its letter and spirit, 
every provision of the Constitution. I will not say that the act 
recently passed for the surrender of fugitives from labor, accom- 
pli ^hes all this; but I will thank any gentleman to point out any one 
carrier against abuse in the old law, or in the law for the surrender 
of white men, as fugitives from justice, that is not secured to the 
negro under the new law. I pause, in order to give any gentleman 
an opportunity to point out the provision. I invite inquiry and 
examination. My object is to arrive at the truth — to repel error and 
dissipate prejudice— and to avoid violence and bloodshed. Will any 
gentleman point out the provision in the old law, for securing and 
vindicating the rights of the free man, that is not secured to him \n 
the act of last session ? 

[A gentleman present rose and called the attention of Mr. Douglas 
to the provision for paying out of the treasury of the United States 
the expenses of carrying the fugitive back in case of anticipated 

Ah, said Mr. D., that is a question of dollars and cents, involving 
no other principle than the costs of the proceeding ! I was discuss- 
ing the question of human rights— the mode of protecting the rights 
of freemen from invasion, and the obligation to surrender fugitives 
under the Constitution. Is it possible that this momentous question, 
which only forty-eight hours ago was deemed of sufficient imi)ort- 
ance to authorize the city council to nullify an act of Congress, and 
raise the standard of rebellion against the Federal Government, has 
dwindled down into a mere petty dispute, who shall pay the costs of 
suit? This is too grave a question for me to discuss on this occasion. 
I confess my utter inability to do it justice. Yesterday the Consti- 
tution of the ocean-bound republic had been overthrown ; the 
privileges of the writ of habeas corpus had been suspended ; the 
right of trial by jury had been abolished ; pains and penalties had 
beea imposed upon every humane citizen who should feed the 


hungry and cover the naked ; the law of God had heen outraged by 
an infamous act of a traitorous Congress ; and the standard of rebel- 
lion, raised by our city fathers, was floating in the breeze, calling on 
all good citizens to rally under its sacred folds, and resist with fire 
and sword — the payment of the costs of suit upon the arrest of a 
fugitive from labor ! 

I will pass over this point, and inquire whether there is any other 
provision of this law upon which an explanation is desired ? I hope 
no one will be backward in propounding inquiries, for I have but a 
few days to remain with you, and desire to make a clean business of 
this matter on the present occasion. Is there any other objection ? 

[A gentleman rose, and desired to know why the bill provides for 
paying ten dollars to the commissioner for his fee in case he decided in 
favor of the claimant, and only five dollars if he decided against him.] 

I presume, said Mr. Douglas, that the reason was that he would 
have more labor to perform, if, after hearing the testimony, the 
commissioner decided in favor of the claimant, the law made it his 
duty to prepare and authenticate the necessary papers to authorize 
him to carry the fugitive home ; but if he decided against him, he 
had no such labor to perform. The law seems to be based upon the 
principle that the commissioner should be paid according to the ser- 
vice he should render — five dollars for presiding at the trial, and five 
dollars for making out the papers in case the testimony should re- 
quire him to return the fugitive. This provision appears to be 
exciting considerable attention in the country, and I have been ex- 
ceedingly gratified at the proceedings of a mass meeting held in a 
county not far distant, in which it was resolved unanimously that 
they could not be bribed, for the sum of five dollars, to consign a 
freeniftn to perpetual bondage ! This shows an exalted state of moral 
feeling, highly creditable to those who participated in the meeting. 
I doubt not they will make their influence felt throughout the State, 
and will instruct their members of the legislature to reform our 
criminal code in this respect. Under our laws, as they have stood 
for many years, and probably from the organization of our State 
government, in all criminal cases, on the preliminary examination 
before the magistrates, and in all the higher courts, if the pris^nei 
be convicted, the witnesses, jurors, and officers, are entitled to their 
fees and bills of costs ; but if he be acquitted, none of them receive 
a cent. In order to difiiise the same high moral sense throughout 
the whole community, would it not be well, at their next meeting, 
to pass another resolution, that they would not be bribed by the 
fees and costs of suit in any case, either as witnesses, jurors, magis- 
trates, or in any other capacity, to consign an innocent man to a 
dismal cell in the penitentiary, or expose him to an ignominious 
death upon the gallows ? Such a resolution might do a great deal 
of good in elevating the character of our people abroad, at the same 
time that it migh' inspire increased confidence in the liberality anJ 
conscientiousnes' >f those who adopted it. 


fs there any other objection to this law ? 

[A gentleman rose, and called the attention of Mr. Douglas to the 
provision vesting the appointment of the commissioners under it in 
the courts of law, instead of the President and Senate, and asked if 
that was not a violation of that provision of the Constitat.ion which 
says that judges of the Supreme Courts, and of the in-ferior courts, 
should be appointed by the President and Senate.] 

I thank the gentleman, said Mr. D., for calling my aitention to 
this point. It was made in the speech of a distinguished lawyer last 
night, and evidently produced great effect upon the minds of the 
audience. The gentleman's high professional standing, taken in con- 
nection with his laborious preparation for the occasion, as was appa- 
rent to all, from his lengthy written brief before him, while speak- 
ing, inspired implicit confidence in the correctness of his position. 
My answer to the objection will be found in the Constitution itself, 
which I will read, so far as it bears upon this question : 

" The President shall nominate, and by and with the consent of the Senate, 
Rhall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, judges of the 
Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, where appointments 
are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by 

Now it will be seen that the words " inferior courts " are not men- 
tioned in the Constitution. The gentleman in his zeal against the 
law, and his frenzy to resist it, interpolated these words, and then 
made a plausible argument upon them. 1 trust this was all unin- 
tentional, or was done with the view of fulfilling the "higher law." 
But there is another sentence in this same clause of the Constitu- 
tion which I have not yet read. It is as follows : 

" But the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers 
ds they may think proper in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in 
the heads of Departments." 

The practice under this clause has usually been to confer the powei 
of appointing those inferior ofiicers, whose duties were executive oi 
miniscerial, upon the President alone, or upon the head of the appro- 
priate department ; and in like manner to give to the courts of law 
the privilege of appointing their subordinates, whose duties were in 
their nature judicial. What is meant by " inferior ofiicers," whose 
appointment may be vested in the " courts of law," will be seen by 
reference to the 8th section of the Constitution, where the powers 
of Congress are enumerated, and among them is the following: 

" To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court." 

Is the tribunal which is to carry the fugitive law into effect infe- 
rior to the Supreme Court of the United States ? If it is, the Con- 
stitution expressly provides for vesting the appointment in the court* 
of law. I will remark, however, that these commissionei'a are not 


appointed nnder the new law, "but in obedience to an act of Con 
gress which has stood on the statute hooks for many years. If thos« 
who denounce and misrepresent the act of last session, had conde- 
scended to read it before they undertook to enlighten the people 
ipon it, they would have saved themselves the mortificatiou of ex- 
posure, as 1 will show by reading the first section. 

Here Mr. Douglas read the law, and proceeded to remark* Thus 
it will be seen that these commissioners have been in office for years, 
with their duties prescribed by law, nearly all of which were of a 
judicial character, and that the new law only imposes additional 
duties, and authorizes the increase of the number. Why has not this 
grave constitutional objection been discovered before, and the people 
informed how their riglits have been outraged in violation of the 
supreme law of the land ? Truly, the passage of the fugitive bill has 
thrown a flood of light upon constitutional principles ! 

Is there any other objection to tlie new law which does not apply 
to the act of '93? 

[A gentleman rose, and said that he would like to ask another 
question, which was this : if the new law was so similar to the old 
one, what was the necessity of passing any at all, since the old one 
was still in force ?] 

Mr. Douglas, in reply, said, that is the very question I was anxious 
some one should propound, because I was desirous of an oppor- 
tunity of answering it. The old law answered all the purposes for 
which it was enacted tolerably well, until the decision by the Su- 
preme Court of the United States, in the case of Priggs vs. the State 
of Pennsylvania, eight or nine years ago. That decision rendere' 
the law comparatively inoperative, for the reason that there were 
scarcely any officers left to execute it. It will be recollected that 
the act of '93 imposed the duty of carrying it into effisct upon the 
magistrates and other officers under the State governments. These 
oflScers performed their duties under that law, with fidelity, for 
about fifty years, until the Supreme Court, in the case alluded 
to, decided that they were under no legal obligation to do so, and 
that Congress had no constitutional power to impose the duty upon 
them. From that time, many of the officers refused to act, and soon 
afterward the legislature of Massachusetts, and many other States, 
passed laws making it criminal for their officers to perform these 
duties. Hence the old law, although efficient in its provisions, and 
similar in most respects, and especially in those new objected to, 
almost identical with the new law, became comparatively a dead 
letter for want of officers to carry it into efltect. The judges of the 
United States courts were the only officers left who were authorized 
to execute it. In this State, for instance, Judge Drummond, whose 
residence was in the extreme northwest corner of the State, within 
six miles of Wisconsin and three of Iowa, and in the direction wherd 
fugitives were least likely to go, was the only person authorized tc 
try the case. 


If a fugitive was arrested at Shawneetown or Alton, three or fom 
hundred miles from the residence of the judge, the master would 
attempt to take him across the river to his home in Kentucky oi 
Missouri, without first establishing his right to do so. This was 
calculated to excite uneasiness and doubts in the minds of our citi- 
zens, as to the propriety of permitting the negro to be carried out 
of the State, without the fact of his owing service, and having es- 
caped, being first proved, lest it might turn out that the negro was 
a free man and the claimant a kidnapper. And yet, according 
to the express term of the old law, the master was authorized to seize 
his slave wherever he found him, and to carry him back without 
process, or trial, or proof of any kind whatsoever. Hence, it was 
necessary to pass the act of last session, in order to carry into 
effect, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the provisions of the law 
and the Constitution on the one hand, and to protect the free colored 
man from being kidnapped and sold into slavery by unprincipled 
men on the other hand. The purpose of the new law is to accom- 
plish these two objects — to appoint officers to carry the law into 
effect, in the place of the magistrates relieved from that duty by the 
decision of the Supreme Court, and to guard against harassing and 
kidnapping the free blacks, by preventing the claimant from carry- 
ing the negro out of the State, until he establishes his legal right to 
do so. The new law, therefore, is a great improvement in this re- 
spect upon the old one, and is more favorable to justice and freedom, 
and better guarded against abuse. 

[A person present asked leave to propound another question to Mr. 
Douglas, which was this : " If the new law is more favorable to free- 
dom than the old one, why did the southern slaveholders vote for it, 
and desire its passage?"] 

Mr. Douglas said he would answer that question with a great deal 
of pleasure. The southern members voted for it for the reason that 
it v^as a better law than the old one — better for them, better for us, 
and better for the free blacks. It places the execution of the law in 
the hands of responsible officers of the government, instead of leav- 
ing every man to take the law into his own hands and to execute it 
for himself It affords personal security to the claimant while arrest- 
ing his servant and taking him back, by providing him with the 
opportunity of establishing his legal rights by competent testimony 
before a tribunal duly authorized to try the case, and thus allay al) 
apprehensions and suspicions, on the part of our citizens, that he is 
a villain, attempting to steal a free man for the purpose of selling him 
into slavery. The slaveholder has as strong a desire to protect the 
rights of the free black man as we have, and much more interest to 
do so ; for he well knows, that if outrages should be tolerated under 
the law, and free men are seized and carried into slavery ; from that 
moment the indignant outcry against it would be so strong here and 
everywhere, that even a fugitive from labor could not be returned 
lest he also might happen to be free. The interest of the slaveholder 


therefore, requires a law wMch shall protect the rights of all frea 
men, black or white, from any invasion or violation whatever. I 
ask the question, therefore, whether this law is not better than the 
old one — better for the North and the South — better for the peace and 
quiet of the whole country ? Let it be remembered that this law is but 
an amendment to the act of '93, and that the old law still remains 
in force, except so far as it is modified by this. Every man who 
voted against this modification, thereby voted to leave the old law 
in force ; for I am not aware that any member of either house of 
Congress ever had the hardihood to propose to repeal the law, and 
make no provisions to cany the Constitution into effect. But the 
cry of repeal, as to the new law, has already gone forth. Well, sup- 
pose it succeeds ; what wiU those have gained who joined in the 
shout ? Have I not sho-vn that fH the material objections they urge 
against the new law, apply with equal force to the old one ? What 
do they gain, therefor*, unless they propose to repeal the old law, 
also, and make no provision for performing our obligations under the 
Constitution? This must be the object of all men who take that 
position. To this it must covie in the end. The real objection is not 
to the new law, nor to the old one, but to the Constitution itself. 
Those of you who hold the'je opinions, do not mean that the fugitive 
from labor shall be taken back. That is the real point of your objec- 
tion. You would not care a farthing about the new law, or the old 
law, or any other law, or what provisions it contained, if there was 
a hole in it big enough for the fugitive to slip through and escape. 
Habeas corpuses — trials by jury — records from other States — pains 
and penalties — the whole catalogue of objections, would be all moon- 
shine, if the negro was not required to go back to his master. Tell 
me, frankly, is not this the true character of your objection? 
[Here several gentlemen gave an afiirmative answer.] 
Mr. Douglas said he would answer that objection by reading a 
portion of the Constitution of the United States. He then read as 
follows : 

"No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, 
escaping into another, shall, into consequence of any law or regulation therein, 
be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on the 
claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due." 

This, said Mr. D., is the supreme law of the land, speaking to 
every citizen of the republic. The command is imperative. There 
is no avoiding — no escaping the obligation, so long as we live under, 
and claim the protection of, the Constitution. We must yield implicit 
obedience, or we must take the necessary steps to release ourselves 
from the obligation to obey. There is no other alternative. We 
must stand by the Constitution of the Union, with all its compro- 
mises, or we must abolish it, and resolve each State back into its 
original elements. It is, therefore, a question of union or disunion. 
We cannot expect our brethren of other States to remain faithful to 
the compact, and permit us to be faithless. Are we prepared, there- 


tore, to execute faithfully and honestly the compact our fathers have 
made for us ? 

[Here a gentleman rose, and inquired of Mr. Douglas, whether the 
clause in the Constitution providing for the surrender of fugitive 
slaves was not in violation of the law of God ?] 

Mr. Douglas in reply : The divine law is appealed to as authority 
for disregarding our most sacred duties to society. The city council 
have appealed to it, as their excuse for nullifying an act of Congress ; 
and a committee embodied the same principle in their resolutions to 
the meeting in this hall last night, as applicable both to the Consti- 
lution and laws. The general proposition that there is a law para- 
mount to all human enactments — the law of the Supreme Ruler of 
LFniverse — I trust that no civilized and Christian people is prepared 
to question, much less deny. We should all recognize, respect, and 
revere the divine law. But we should bear in mind that the law of 
God, as revealed to us, is intended to operate on our consciences, and 
insure the performance of our duties as individuals and Christians. 
The divine law does not prescribe the form of government under 
which we shall live, and the character of our political and civil insti- 
tutions. Revelation has not furnished us with a constitution — a code 
of international law — and a system of civil and municipal jurispru- 
dence. It has not determined the right of persons and property — 
much less the peculiar privileges which shall be awarded to each 
class of persons under any particular form of government. God has 
created man in his own image, and endowed him with the right of 
self-government, so soon as he shall evince the r»«[uisite intelligence, 
virtue, and capacity to assert and enjoy the privilege. The history 
of world furnishes few examples where any considerable portion of 
the human race have shown themselves sufficiently enlightened and 
civilized to exercise the rights and enjoy the blessings of freedom. 
In Asia and Africa wg find nothing but ignorance, superstition, and 
despotism. Large portions of Europe and America can scarcely lay 
claim to civilization and Christianity ; and a still smaller portion 
have demonstrated their capacity for self-government. Is all this 
contrary to the laws of God ? And if so, who is responsible ? The 
civilized world have always held, that when any race of men have 
shown themselves so degraded, by ignorance, superstition, cruelty, 
and barbarism, as to be utterly incapable of governing themselves, 
they must, in the nature of things, be governed by others, by such 
laws as are deemed applicable to their condition. It is upon this 
principle alone that England justifies the form of government she 
has established in the Indies, and for some of her other colonies- 
that Russia justifies herself in holding her serfs as slaves, and selling 
them as a part of the land on which they live— that our Pilgrim 
Fathers justified themselves in reducing the negro andlndian to 
servitude, and selling them as property — that we in Illinois and 
Itiost of the free States, justify ourselves in denying the negro and 
*ie Indian the privilege of voting, and all other political rights — and 


thai inaii;^ of the States of the Union justify themselves in depriving 
the white man of the right of the elective franchise, unless he is for- 
tunate enough to own a certain amount of property. 

These things certainly violate the principle of absolute equality 
among men, when considered as component parts of a political society 
or government, and so do many provisions of the Constitution of the 
United States, as well as the several States of the Union, In fact, no 
government ever existed on earth in which there was a perfect equality, 
in all things, among those composing it and governed by it. ifeither 
sacred nor profane history furnishes an example. If inequality in the 
form and principles of government is therefore to be deemed a viola- 
tion of the laws of God, and punishable a? such, who is to escape ? 
Under this principle all Christendom is doomed, and no Pagan can 
hope for mercy ? Many of these things are, in my opinion, unwise 
and unjust, and, of course, subversive of republican principles ; but 
I am not prepared to say that they are either sanctioned or con- 
demned by the divine law. Who can assert that God has prescribed 
the form and principles of government, and the character of the poli- 
tical, municipal and domestic institutions of men on earth ? This 
doctrine would annihilate the fundamental principle upon which our 
political system rests. Our forefathers held that the people had an 
inherent right to establish such Constitution and laws for the govern- 
ment of themselves and their posterity, as they should deem best 
calculated to insure the protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of 
happiness ; and that the same might be altered and changed as expe- 
rience should satisfy them to be necessary and proper. Upon thia 
principle the Constitution of the United States was formed, and our 
glorious Union established. All acts of Congress passed in pursuance 
of the Constitution are declared to be the supreme laws of the land, 
and the Supreme Court of the United States is charged with expound- 
ing the same. All officers and magistrates, under the Federal and 
State governments — executive, legislative, judicial, and ministerial — 
are required to take an oath to support the Constitution, before they 
can enter upon the performance of their respective duties. Any citi- 
zen, therefore, who in his conscience, believes that the Constitution 
of the United States is in violation of a " higher law," has no right, 
as an honest man, to take office under it, or exercise any other func- 
tion of citizenship conferred by it. Every person born under the 
Constitution owes allegiance to it ; and every naturalized citizen 
takes an oath support it. Fidelity to the Constitution is the only 
passport to the enjoyment of rights under it. When a senator elect 
presents his credentials, he is not allowed to take his seat until he 
places his hand upon the holy evangelist, and appeals to his God for 
the sincerity of his vows to support the Constitution. He, who does 
this, with a mental reservation or secret intention to disregard any 
provision of the Constitution, commits a double crime — is morally 
guilty of perfidy to his God and treason to his country ! 

It the Coustitution of the United States is to be repudiated upou 


the ground that it is repugnant to the divine law, where are the 
friends of freedom and Christianity to look for another and a better ? 
Who is to he the prophet to reveal the will of God and establish a 
Theocracy for us ? 

Is he to be found in the ranks of northern abolitionism, or of 
southern disunion ; or is the Common Council of the city of Chicago 
to have the distinguished honor of furnishing the chosen one ? I 
will not venture to inquire what are to be the form and principles 
of the new government, or to whom is to be intrusted the execution 
of its sacred functions ; for, when we decide that the wisdom of our 
revolutionary fathers was foolishness, and their piety wickedness, 
and destroy the only system of self government that has ever real- 
ized the hopes of the friends of freedom, and commanded the respect 
of mankind, it becomes us to wait patiently until the purposes of the 
Latter Day Saints shall be revealed unto us. 

For my part, I am prepared to maintain and preserve inviolate the 
Constitution as it is with all its compromises, to stand or fall by the 
American Union, clinging with the tenacity of life to all its glorious 
memories of the past and precious hopes for the future. 

Mr. Douglas then explained the circumstances which rendered his 
absence unavoidable when the vote was taken on the fugitive bill 
in the Senate. He wished to avoid no responsibility on account of 
that absence, and therefore desired it to be distinctly understood that 
he should have voted for the bill if he could have been present. He 
referred to several of our most prominent and respected citizens by 
name, as personally cognizant of the fact that he was anxious at that 
time to give that vote. He believed the passage of that or some 
other efficient law a solemn duty, imperatively demanded by the 
Constitution. In conclusion, Mr. D. made an earnest appeal to our 
citizens to rally as one man to the defence of the Constitution and 
laws, and above all things, and under all circumstances, to put down 
violence and disorder, by maintaining the supremacy of the laws. 
He referred to our high character for law and order heretofore, and 
also to the favorable position of our city for commanding the trade 
between the North and South, through our canals and railroads, to 
show that our views and principles of action should be broad, liberal, 
and national, calculated to encourage union and harmony, instead of 
disunion and sectional bitterness. He concluded by remarking, that 
he considered this question of fidelity to the Constitution and supre- 
macy of the laws, as so far paramount to all other considerations, 
that he had prepared some resolutions to cover these points only, 
which he would submit to the meeting, and take their judgment upon 
them. If he had consulted his own feelings and views only, he 
should have embraced in the resolutions a specific approval of all the 
measures of the compromise ; but as the question of rebellion and 
resistance to the Federal Government has been distinctly presented^ 
it has been thought advisable to meet that issue on this occasion, dis 
tiuct and separate from all others. 


Mr. Douglas then offered the following resolutions, which were 
adopted without a dissenting voice : 

Resolved, Tliat it is the sacred duty of every friend of the Union to maintain, 
and preserve inviolate, every provision of our federal Constitution. 

Resolved, That any law enacted by Congress, in pursuance of the Constitu- 
tion, should be respected as such by all good and law-abiding citizens, and 
should be faithfully carried into effect by the ofiBcers charged with its execution. 

Resolved, That so long as the Constitution of the United States provides, that 
all persons held to service or labor in one State, escaping into another State, 
" SHALL BE DELIVERED UP ou the Claim of the party to whom the service or 
labor may be due," and so long as members of Congress are required to take 
an oath to support the Constitution, it is their solemn and religious duty to pass 
all laws necessary to carry that provision of the Constitution into effect. 

Resolved, That if we desire to preserve the Union, and render our great 
Republic inseparable and perpetual, we must perform all our obligations under 
the Constitution, at the same time that we call upon our brethren in other 
States to yield implicit obedience to it. 

Resolved, That as the lives, property and safety of ourselves and our families 
depend upon the observance and protection of the laws, every effort to excite 
any portion of our population to make resistance to the due execution of the 
laws of the land, should be promptly and emphatically condemned by every 
good citizen. 

Resolved, That we will stand or fall by the American Union and its Constitu- 
tion, with all its compromises, with its glorious memories of the past and pre- 
cious hope of the future. 

[The following was offered in addition by B. S. Morris, and also 
adopted :] 

Resolved, That we, the people of Chicago, repudiate the resolutions passed 
by the Common Council of Chicago upon the subject of the Fugitive Slave Law 
passed by Congress at its last session. 

On the succeeding night the common council of the city repealed 
their nullifying resolution by a vote of 12 to 1. 


Delivered in the Senate of the United States^ March 10 aiid 17, 1853. 

On returning to the Senate of the United States at th 
special session, commencing on the 4th March, 1843, Senator 
Clayton, of Delaware, offered the following resolutions : 

Resolved, That the President be respectfully requested, if compatible in his 
opinion with the public interest, to communicate to the Senate the propositions 
mentioned in the letter of the secretary of state accompanying the Executive 
message to the Senate of the 18th February last, as having been agreed upon 
by the Department of State, the British minister, and the state of Costa Rica, 
on the 30th of April, 1852, having for their object the settlement of the terri- 
torial controversies between the states and governments bordering on the 
river San Juan. 

Resolved, That the secretary of state be directed to communicate to th« 
Senate such information as it maybe in the power of his department to furnish, 
in regard to the conflicting claims of Great Britain and the state of Honduras, 
to the island of Eoatan, Bonacca, Utilla, Barbarat, Helene, and Morat, in or 
near the Bay of Honduras. 

On the 8th and 9th of March, 1853, he addressed th^ 
Senate on the subject, and arraigned Senators Cass, Mason, 
and Douglas, for the part they had taken in the debate 
during the regular session. On the 10th of March, Mr. 
Douglas replied as :Rillows : 

Me. Peesident : I have nothing to do with the controversy which 
has arisen between the senator from Delaware (Mr. Clayton) and 
my venerable friend from Michigan (Mr. Cass), who is now absent 
in consequence of the severe illness of one nearest and dearest to 
him. "We all know enough of that senator to be assured that when 
he shall be in his place, he will be prompt to respond to any calls 
that may be made upon him. Neither have I anything to do with 
the dispute which has grown up among senators in respect to the 
boundary of Central America, and the position of the British settle- 
ment at the Balize. I leave that in the hands of those who have 
made themselves parties to the controversy. Nor shall I become a 
party to the discussion upon the issue between the senator from 
Delaware and the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, 
in their report on that question. Not having been present when the 
committee made their report, and not yet having had the opportunity 
ot reading it, I leav© th© chairman of the committee to vindicate his 


positions, as I doubt not he will prove himself abundantly able to do 
I have, therefore, only to ask the attention of the Senate to such 
points as the senator from Delaware has chosen to make against a 
speech delivered by me a few weeks ago in this chamber. 

The senator seems to complain that I should have questioned the 
propriety of withholding from the consideration of the Senate what 
is known as the Hise treaty, and the substitution of the Clayton and 
Bulwer treaty in its place. Those two treaties presented a distinct 
issue of great public concern to the country ; and it was a difference 
of opinion between him and me as to which system of policy should 
prevail. I advocated that system which would secure to the United 
States the sole and exclusive privilege of controlling the communi- 
cation between the two oceans. He, substituted that other policy 
which opened the privilege to a partnership between the United 
States and Great Britain. The senator has assigned various 
reasons for withholding the Hise treaty from the consideration of 
the Senate. The tirst is, that it was concluded by Mr. Hise without 
the authority of this government. That may be true, but it is the 
first time I have heard it argued as a valid reason for withholding 
from the consideration of the Senate a treaty the objects and pro- 
visions of which were desirable. The treaty with New Granada, 
which he so warmly commends in his speech, was made by Mr. Bid- 
lack without authority. President Polk stated this fact in his 
message communicating the treaty to the Senate, and the senator 
from Delaware has read that message and incorporated it into his 
speech. He therefore knew that fact when he gave as a reason for 
withholding the Hise treaty, that it was made without authority. 

The treaty of peace with Mexico, to the provisions of which the 
senator has also referred on another point, was entered into by Mr 
Trist, not only without authority, but in bold defiance of the instruc- 
tions of our government to the contrary. The administration of 
President Polk did not feel at liberty to withhold these two treaties 
from the Senate, merely because they were made without authority 
or in defiance of instructions, for the reason that the objects intended 
to be accomplished by the treaty were desirable, and the provisions 
could be so modified by the Senate as to make the details conform to 
the objects in view. It may not be amiss for me to remind the 
senator from Delaware, that he was a member of the Senate at the 
time the Mexican treaty was submitted for ratification, and that he 
voted for it, notwithstanding it was concluded in opposition to the 
instructions of our government. If, therefore, the senator has any 
respect for the practice of the government heretofore, or for his own 
votes recorded upon the very point in controversy, he is not at liberty 
to object to the treaty upon the ground that it was concluded by our 
diplomatic agent without authority. 

I understand the rule to be this : whenever the treaty is made in 
pursuance of instructions, the Executive is under an implied obliga- 
tion to submit it to the Senate foi ratification. But if it be entered 


iCto "without authority, or in violation of instructions, the admin- 
istration are at liberty to reject it unconditionally, or to send it to 
the Senate for advice, amendment, ratification, or rejection, according 
to their judgment of its merits. AVhether the Hise treaty was per- 
fect in all its provisions, or contained obnoxious featm'es, is not the 
question. It furnished conclusive evidence that the government of 
Nicaragua was willing and anxious to confer upon the United States 
the exclusive and perpetual privilege of controlling the canal between 
the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, instead of a partnership between U8 
and the European powers. The senator from Delaware (then secre- 
tary of state) had the opportunity of securing to his own country 
that inestimable privilege, either by submitting the Hise treaty to 
the Senate, with the recommendation that it be so modified as to 
obviate all the objections which he deemed to exist to some of its 
provisions, or by making a new treaty which should embrace the 
principle of an exclusive and perpetual privilege without any of the 
obnoxious provisions. He did not do either. He suppressed the 
treaty — refused to accept of an exclusive privilege to his own 
country — and caused a new treaty to be made, which should lay the 
foundation of a partnership between the United States and Great 
Britain and the other European powers. 

The next reason assigned for withholding the Hise treaty from the 
Senate is that it had not been approved by Nicaragua. It is true 
that Nicaragua did not ratify that treaty ; but why did she fail to do 
so ? I showed conclusively in the speech to which the senator was 
replying that the non-approval was in consequence of his instructions, 
as secretary of state, to Mr. Squier, oui- charge d'afi"aires to Nicaragua. 
It required the whole influence of the representative of our govern- 
ment in that country to prevent the ratification and approval of the 
Hise treaty by the state of Nicaragua. Sir, it is not a satisfactory 
reason for suppressing the treaty, therefore, that it had not been 
ratified by the other party, when the non-ratification was produced 
by the action of the agent of this government in pursuance of in- 

Mr. Olattox. — I desire distinctly to understand the senator. If 
1 understood him, he said that Mr. Hise's treaty was rejected in 
consequence of Mr. Squier's interference. 

Mr. Douglas. — Yes, sir. 

Mr. Clayton-. — And then I understand him to say that Mr. Squiei 
did it by instruction. 

Mr. Douglas. — Yes, sir. 

Mr. Clayton. — Now will the senator submit the truth to sub- 
stantiate that assertion ? I know of no such instruction. 

Mr. Douglas. — I will do that with a great deal of pleasure. Mr. 
Hise was sent to the Central American States by Mr. Polk, He 
negotiated a treaty with the state of Nicaragua— the treaty ii. 
question— on the 21st of June, 1849. Prior to that time he had 
oeQtx recalled, and Mr. Squier had been appointed hj the administrft 


tion which succeeded that of President Polk. Mr. Hise had re- 
ceired no knowledge of his removal ; no instructions from the new 
administration at the time when he made the treaty. In the in- 
structions which the secretary of state gave to Mr. Squier on the 
2d of May, 1849, when he was about to proceed to Central America 
to supersede Mr. Hise, you will find that he was directed to "claim 
no peculiar privilege ; no exclusive right ; no monopoly of com- 
mercial intercourse " for the United States. I will read from the 
letter of instructions : 

"We should naturally be proud of such an achievement as an American 
work ; but if European aid be necessary to accomplish it, why should we re- 
pudiate it, seeing that our object is as honest as it is openly avowed, to claim 
no peculiar privilege ; no exclusive right ; no monopoly of commercial inter- 
course, but to see that the work is dedicated to the benefit of mankind, to be 
used by all on the same terms with us, and consecrated to the enjoyment and 
diffusion of the unnumbered and inestimable blessings which must flow from it 
to all the civilized world !" 

Then, sir, after having instructed Mr. Squier as to the character 
of the treaty which he was to form — a treaty which was to open the 
canal to the world — a treaty which was to give us no peculiar 
privilege, and secure to us no exclusive right — after giving that in- 
struction, the secretary, in the concluding paragraph, says : 

_ "If a charter or grant of the right of way shall have been incautiously oi 
inconsiderately made before your arrival in that country, seek to have it 
properly modified to answer the ends we have in view." 

Mk. Clayton. — Is that the passage? 

Me. Douglas. — That and the other together. 

Me. Clayton. — I endeavored to correct the misapprehension of 
the honorable senator yesterday in reference to that. That is not 
an instruction to the minister to Central America in regard to the 
treaty made by Mr. Hise, or any other treaty. It is a direction to 
the minister to Central America to see that any contract which had 
been made by the local government should be so made as not to be 
assignable. If the gentleman will read the context, he will see at 
once that that does not allude to a treaty. It is merely, I say again, 
an instruction to the minister in that country to look to it, that the 
capitalists who were about to construct the canal should not specu- 
late upon the work. There is nothing there touching a treaty ; 
nothing whatever. The gentleman is entirely mistaken. The whole 
construction is in reference to the character of the contract O' 

Me. Douglas. — I will read the preceding sentence, and we will eee 
then 'who is mistaken : 

" If they do not agree to grant us passage on reasonable and proper terms, 
refuse our protection ani our countenance to procure the contract fioni 
Nicaragua " — 


Mk. Clayton. — If the gentleman will look at the context which 
goes before, he will see that the word " they " refers to the capitalists. 
Me. Douglas. — I will read what goes before : 

" See that it is not assignable to others ; that no exclusive privileges are 
granted to any nation that will not agree to the same treaty stipulations with 
Nicaragua; that the tolls to be demanded by the owners are not unreasonable 
or oppressive ; that no power be reserved to the proprietors of the canal or 
iheir suocessors to extort at any time hereafter, or unjustly to obstruct or 
embarrass the right of passage. This will require all your vigilance and skill. 
if they do not agree to grant us passage on reasonable and proper terms, re- 
vise our protection and our countenance to procure the contract from 
Vicaragua. If a charter or grant of the right of way shall have been incau- 
"lously or inconsiderately made before your arrival in that country, seek to 
wave it pro]t^3rly modified to answer the ei^ds we have in view." 

Me. Cla-Tton. — The honorable senator will observe that that does 
lot refer to a treaty. The grant of the right of way was a diiferent 
■iiing. It T?as a contract between the '■-''cai government and the 
riapitalists. Not a treaty at all. 

Me. Douglas. — The senator's explanation is doubtless [satisfactory 
BO himself. He may imagine that it will suit his present purposes to 
place upon his instructions the construction for which he now con- 
tends ; but it is wholly unwarranted by the language he employed. 
Eis instructions speak of securing the right of way to "us." To 
whom did he allude in the word "us?" Did he refer to the 
capitalists, proprietors and speculators, who should become the 
owners of the charter ? Was he one of the company, and therefore 
authorized to use the word "us," when speaking of the rights and 
Drivileges to be acquired of a foreign nation through his agency as . 
secretary of state ? I have supposed that Mr. Squier was sent to 
Oentral America to represent the United States, and to protect our 
rights and interests as a nation. I have always done the senator 
from Delaware the justice to believe that when he gav^e those in- 
structions to Mr. Squier he was acting on behalf of his country to 
secure the right of way for a canal to the United States and not to a 
few capitalists and speculators under the title of "us." For the 
honor of our country I will still do liim that justice, notwithstanding 
his disclaimer. His instructions also speak of the right of way to 
"nations," and caution Mr. Squier to see that "no exclusive privi- 
leges are granted to any nation," etc. 

It is plain, therefore, that in the instructions relating to the secur- 
ing the right of way for a canal to the nations of the earth, Mr. 
Squier was directed to see that no exclusive privilege was granted 
to any other nation, and not to claim any peculiar advantages for 
our own. Then follows the concluding paragraph, which has been 

" K a charter or grant of the rights of way shall have been incautiously or in 
considerately made before your arrival in the country, seek to have it properlj 
modified to answer the ends we have in view." 

Modified how ? If before the arrival of Mr. Squier in the country 


Mr. Hise shall have acquired a charter or grant which si ill secmr* 
peculiar privileges or exclusive rights for this country, Le was to 
seek to have it so modified as to open the same rights and privileges 
to all other nations on equal terms. This is what I understand to 
be the meaning of those instructions, and it is clear that Mr. Squier 
understood them in the same way ; for when lie arrived in Nicaragua, 
and discovered, by a statement in a newspaper of the Isthmus, that 
Mr. Hise was about making a treaty for a canal, without knowing 
what its terms were, without waiting to ascertain its provisions, he 
Bent at once a notice to tSie government of Nicaragua, that Mr. Hise 
was not authorized to treat — that he did not understand the policy 
and views of the new administration — that he had been recalled, 
and that any treaty he might make must be considered and treated 
as an unofiicial act. He communicated tbis protest to the secretary 
of state on the same day, and then proceeded to bis point of det-thia- 
tion, where he made a treaty for the right of way for a canal to all 
nations on the partnership plan in pursuance of his instructions. 
These two treaties — the Hise treaty and the Squier treaty — were in 
the Department of State at the same time — the one having arrived 
about the middle of September, and the other about the first of 
October. It then became the duty of the senator from Delaware, as 
secretary of state, to decide between them : in other words, to de- 
termine whether he would accept of an exclusive privilege to his 
own country, or enter into partnership with the monarchies of 
Europe. He did determine that question, and his decision was in 
favor of the partnership, and against his own country having the 
exclusive control of the canal. 

Then, sir, I think I was authorized to say what I did say, that the 
non-ratification of Hise treaty by the government of Nicaragua was 
procured by the agent of General Taylor's administration in that 
country, and that the agent acted under the authority of this go- 
vernment. He certainly acted in obedience to what he understood 
to be his instruction, and that is, the instruction, that if such a char 
ter had been incautiously granted, to seek to have it modified to con- 
form to the ends had in view, as stated in the instruction. 

Me. Clayton. — Will the senator allow me to interrupt him? It 
|j not a very material point, still it is better to have it right than 
wrong. If the senator will only read the last paragraph, he will see 
that the charter or grant of the right of way which Mr. Squier was 
instructed to see was not incautiously made, was a very diiferent 
thing, indeed, from the treaty ; and he will see that that is the thing 
which I directed the minister to look to, as I stated, and endeavored 
to be understood yesterday, and as I was anxious to be understood 
by the gentleman on this point — what 1 instructed the minister to 
look to was that the contract of these capitalists should not be such 
as would enable them to extort from persons using the canal. The 
last sentence of the instruction applies, if he wilJ look at it excb> 
sively to the ca^e of the contract, and not to that if the treaty, 


One remark more : How is it possible for the gentleman to recon- 
cile the fact, that the State Department could know or imagine that 
Mr. Hise had made a treaty on the 2d of May, 1850, when those in- 
Btructions were given, when, in point of fact, Mr. Ilise was not 
heard from until June afterward? How could I imagine any such 
thing ? And again : how could I possibly suppose tliat Mr. Hise 
had made a treaty, or was going to make a treaty, when the records 
of the State Department showed me the instructions given to him 
by Mr. Buchanan, in which he tells Mr. Hise to make no treaty 
whatever with ISTiearagua? If the gentleman can reconcile these 
things, I should be happy to hear him. 

Me. Douglas. — I will have less difficulty in reconciling these things 
with my views of his instructions than he will with his construction 
of them. I have already shown that the instructions related to the 
right of way to nations and not to individuals ; that they were in 
favor of equal rights to all nations, and opposed to any peculiar pri- 
vileges to our own country. Is it not as reasonable to suppose that 
the instructions meant what they said, as it is to conceive that our 
minister was directed to procure the modification of contracts pre- 
viously entered into with individuals, and for the observance of 
which Nicaragua was supposed to have pledged her faith as a nation? 
Was our minister sent there to represent individuals in their schemes 
of procuring charters and contracts on private account, or to inter- 
fere with and prevent the faithful observance of such contracts as 
that government might previously have made with our own citizens 
or others? While this supposition might extricate the senator from 
his present difficulty on this point, it would not tend to elevate the 
character of our diplomacy during his administration of the State 
Department. I think I do the senator more justice by the construc- 
tion I have put upon his conduct than he does by his own explana- 

But, sir, I wish to know whether I understand the senator now ? 
Does he wish now to be understood as saying that he preferred an 
exclusive priri.ege to his own country to a partnership with Eng- 

Me. Clayton. — ISTo, sir. 

Me. Douglas.— Ah ! then as he did not prefer the exclusive f )ri- 
vilege to a partnership with the European powers, does he wish the 
Senate to understand that he did not mean to convey his true idea 
m his instructions ? If he preferred the partnership to the exclusive 
privilege, was it not his duty to make known that wish in his in- 
structions ? Why should he complain when I show that by his in- 
structions he said precisely what he now avows to be his policy 
upon that subject? Why, sir, I am defending the cunsistency of hia 
own opinions, according to his present views, by showhift- that hia 
instructions embraced what he says now was his true policy— ir 
favor of a partnership with other nations, instead of an exclusive 
privilege to our own country. 


But, sir, whatever may have been his meaning in those instruc- 
tions, it is undeniable that Mr. Squier understood them as I now do, 
and acted upon them accordinglj. Hence, as I have already re- 
maiked, before he arrived upon the theatre of his operations, and 
upon the mere authority of a newspaper paragraph, that Mr. His« 
was about making such a treaty, he sent ahead a messenger to in- 
form the government of Nicaragua that Mr. Hise had no autho- 
rity to treat upon the subject — that he had been recalled — that he 
was not informed of the views and purposes of the new administra- 
tion — and that whatever treaty he made must be regarded and 
treated as an unofficial act— and requesting that "new negotiations 
may be entered upon at the seat of government." 

The new negotiations were immediately opened accordingly, and 
on the 3d of September terminated in a treaty, which was a substi- 
tute for that which Mr. Hise had previously made. I do not under- 
stand that the Hise -treaty was formally rejected or disavowed by 
the government of Nicaragua. It was treated as an unofficial act — 
a mere nullity — upon the authority of Mr. Squier's protest. I again 
submit the question to the Senate, therefore, whether I am not fully 
justified in the statement that the non-approval of the Hise treaty 
by the government of Nicaragua was in consequence of the action 
of the agent of this government in that country, under the instruc- 
tions of the senator from Delaware as secretary of state? I am 
only surprised that he should attempt to avoid the responsibility of 
the act, since, when hard pressed in this discussion, he has been 
driven into the admission that he preferred a partnership with the 
monarchies of the Old World to an exclusive privilege for his own 
country. If such were his opinions and preferences, he was bound 
by every consideration of duty and patriotism to have given the in- 
structions, and produced the result which I have attributed to him. 
Why not avow that which he now acknowledges to have been his 
purpose, in obedience to what he conceived to be his duty ? I only 
ask him to assume the responsibility and consequences of his own 
conduct, and then to assign such reasons as he may be able in justi- 

The next reason which he gives for suppressing the Hise treaty ia 
totally inconsistent with the first. He alleges that the clause guar- 
anteeing the independence of Nicaragua was wliolly inadmissible, and 
could never receive his sanction. In a report wliich was communi- 
cated to the House of Eepresentatives in 1850, he assigned the same 
reason, and stated that such a guaranty was a departure from our 
uniform policy, and had no precedent in our history except in the onf 
case of the French colonies in America. 

Of course courtesy requires me to acknowledge that the senator 
really believes that this was one of the reasons which induced him 
to withhold the Hise treaty from the Senate. I must be permitted, 
however, to inform him that he is entirely mistaken : that the clause 
in question did not constitute an objection in his mind at that time 


ihat it Is an afterthought which he hus since seized hold of to justify 
an act which he had previously performed upon totally different 
grounds. The evidence of tliese facts will be found recorded in a 
dispatch written by the senator from Delaware, as secretary of state, 
on the 20th of October, 1849, to Mr. Lawrence, our minister to Eng- 
land. The document containing this dispatch was printed and laid 
upon our tables a few days since, and is entitled Senate Ex. Doc. No 
27. It will be remembered that the Hise treaty was communicated 
to the Department of State on the 15th of September, and the S<iniei 
treaty about the first of October of the same year. On the 20th of 
October, Mr. Clayton (in the dispatch to which I refer), di.-cussed oui 
relations with the Central American states at great length — among 
other things communicated to Mr. Lawrence the substance of these 
two treaties — and directed him to make the same known to Lord 
Palmerston. I read from the dispatch : 

"If, however, the British government shall reject these overtures on our part, 
and shall refuse to cooperate with us in the generous and philanthropic schera« 
of rendering the interoceanic communication by the way of the port and rivei 
San Juan free to all nations upon the same terms, we shall deem ourselves ju? 
tified in protecting our interests independently of her aid, and despite her oy 
position or hostility. With a view to this alternative, we have a treaty wit ^ 
the state of Nicaragua, a copy of which has been sent to you, and the stipulj- 
tions of which you should unreservedly impart to Lord Palmerston. You w U 
inform him, however, that this treaty was concluded without a uower or In- 
struction from this government; that the President had no knurt-ledge of t a 
existence, of the intention to form it, until it was presented to himbyKr. 
Hise, our late charge d'affaires to Guatemala, about the 1st of September la? i; 
and that, consequently, we are not bound to ratify it, and will take no step for 
that purpose, if we can, by arrangements with the British government, pi ice 
our interests upon a just and satisfactory foundation. But, if orr effort for this 
end should be abortive, the President will not hesitate to suVrait this or s jme 
other treaty which may be concluded by the present charg^ d'affaires to 'Jtna- 
temala, to the Senate of the United States for their advice uud consent, with a 
view to its ratification ; and if that enlightened bodj' should approve it, h(i also 
will give it his hearty sanction, and will exert all his ccr.stitutional power to 
execute its provisions in good faith — a determination io which he may confi- 
dently count upon the good will of the people of the United States." 

Here we find the true reason assigned for withholding the Hise 
treaty from the Senate. It was to induce Gredt Britain to enter into 
partnership with us. Lord Palmerston is infcrmed that if Great Bri- 
tain refuses our ofier of a partnership, that '"we shall deem ourselves 
justified in protecting our interests independently of her aid, and in 
despite of her opposition or hostility," and that "■ with a view to thia 
alternative," he held the Hise treaty in reserve, to be submitted to 
the Senate for ratification or not, dependent upon the decision of 
Great Britain in relation to the partnership. Tliis is the only reason 
assigned for witliholding tlie treaty from the Senate. Tlie pretext 
that it was made without autliority is expressly negatived by tlie 
threat to accept the exclusive privilege, in the event that England 
refuses to enter into the partnership. Not a word of objection that 


it guarantees the independence of Nicaragua ! But the testiinouy 
does not stop here. Tliis same dispatch furnishes affirmative evi- 
dence — conclusive and undeniable — that the "guaranty" constjtated 
no portion of his objection to the Hise treaty — was not deemed ob- 
jectionable by him at that time — but, on the contrary, wsis looked 
upon vpith favor, and actually proposed by Mr. Clayton liimself as a 
desirable provision vphich might be incorporated into a treaty for the 
protection of the canal ! I read from the same dispatch : 

" You may suggest, for instance, that the United States and Great Britain 
should enter into a treaty guaranteeing the independence of Nicaragua, Hon- 
duras and Costa Rica, which treaty may also guarantee to British subjects the 
privileges acquired in those States by the treaties between Great Britain and 
Spain, provided that the limits of those States on the east be acknowledged to 
be the Carribean Sea." 

Now, sir, let me ask the senator from Delaware what becomes of 
his pretext that he deemed the guaranty of the independence of 
Nicaragua an insuperable objection to the Hise treaty? Have I not 
proven by his own dispatches, written at the time, that such an idea 
could never have entered his brain when he determined to withhold 
the treaty from the Senate ?— that it was an afterthought upon which 
he has since seized as an excuse for an act which had been previously 
done with a view to another object, and for diiferent reasons ? 

I will now proceed to consider the fourth objection made by the 
senator to the Hise treaty. He goes on to criticise its various pro- 
visions, denounces them as ridiculous, as absurd, as unconstitutional, 
and he puts the question with an air of triumph whether there was 
a man in this body who would have voted for all the provisions of 
that treaty. Sir, I have no fancy for that species of special pleading 
which attempts to avoid the real issue by a criticisin upon mere 
details which are subject to modification at pleasure. Does not the 
senator know that when a treaty is made, the objects of which are 
desirable, while the details are inadmissible, the practice has been 
to send it to the Senate, that the object may be secured and the 
details so modified as to conform to the ends in view ? Whoever 
supposed before that a treaty, desirable in its leading features, was to 
be rejected by the department, merely because there was an obnox- 
ious provision in it ? I could turn upon the senator with an air of 
as much triumph, if I had practised it as well, and ask him if there 
was a man in this body who would have voted for the Mexican 
treaty of peace as it was sent to us by the Executive ? Do we not 
all know that the treaty which was ratified by about four-fifths of 
the Senate came to us in a shape in which it could not receive one 
solitary vote upon either side of the chamber? Do we not know 
that M.". Polk in his message communicating the treaty intimated 
that fact, and called the attention of the Senate to the obnoxious 
provisions ? While it contained provisions which would exclude the 
President from the possibility of ever ratifying it, which would hare 


prevented every senator from giving his sanction to it, yet inaflmoch 
as the main objects of the treaty met the approval of the President, 
and it was only matters of detail that were obnoxious and inadmis 
Mble, he sent it to the Senate that its details might be made to har 
monize with its objects. Sir, the vote to strike out the obnoxious 
features in the treaty was unanimous, Not one man in the body, not 
even the senator from Delaware, dared to afhrm those clauses or vote 
to keep them in the treaty. Having perfected it so as to suit the 
"iews of about four-fifths of the Senate, it was ratified with the vote 
0. the senator recorded in the affirmative, according to my recol- 

If, therefore, the senator from Delaware had followed the practice 
which he sanctioned by his own vote in the case of the Mexican 
treaty, he would have sent the Hise treaty to the Senate for amend- 
ment and ratification, even if the details had been obnoxious to all 
the objections he noAv urges to them. For this reason I do not deem 
it necessary to occupy the time of the Senate in reply to his objec- 
tions relative to making a canal outside the limits of the United 
States, or the creation of a company either by Congress or the Presi- 
dent for that purpose. I care not whether these provisions were 
admissible or inadmissible. It is not material to the argument. It 
can have no bearing upon the question. The Hise treaty was evi- 
dence of one great fact, which should never be forgotten, and that 
fact is, that Nicaragua was willing and anxious to grant the United 
States forever the exclusive right and control over a ship canal 
between the two oceans. The secretary of state (Mr. Clayton), 
knew that fact. If the details were not acceptable to him, he could 
have availed himself of the main provisions and made the details to 
suit himself; I confine myself therefore to the great point that yon 
might have had the exclusive privilege if you had desired it. You 
refused it with your eyes open, and took a partnership in lieu of it. 
All about the details is a matter of moonshine. You could have 
modified them to suit yourself before sending the treaty to the 
Senate, or you could have followed the example of Mr. Polk, in the 
case of the Mexican treaty, and sent it to the Senate with the recom- 
mendation that the details be thus modified. 

All this talk about obnoxious features and objectionable provisions 
— about guarantees of independence and want of authority to make 
the treaty — must be regarded as miserable attempts to avoid the 
main point at issue. Why this pitiful equivocation, if the senator 
was really in favor of the European partnership in preference to the 
exclusive privilege for the United States, as all his acts prove — the 
whole tenor of his correspondence clearly and conclusively prove — 
was the case ? If he thinks his policy was right, why not frankly 
avow the truth, and justify upon the merits ? I am not to be diverted 
from my purpose by his assaults upon the administration of Presi 
dent Polk, nor by his array of great names in opposition to the viewj 
I entertain. History wiU do justice to Mr. Polk and Mr. BuohanaD 


upon this as well as all other questions connected with their admi- 
nistration of the government. In the speech to which the senator 
professed to reply, I did not make an allusion to party politics. I do 
not think the term TVhig or Democrat can be found in the whole 
speech. I am sure tliat it does not contain a partisan reference to 
the state of political parties in the country during the period to 
which my remarks applied. I attempted to discuss the question 
upon its merits, independent of tlie fact whether my views might come 
in conflict with those professed by either of the great parties, or 
entertained by the great men of our country at some former period. 
I should have been better satisfied if the senator had pursued the 
same course, instead of calling upon Jackson, Polk and Buchanan, 
and sheltering himself behind their great names, while attempting to 
detract from their fame by representing them as having sacrificed the 
interests and honor of their country. 

Mr. ClaytojST. — I deny it. There was not one word in my speech 
which went to arraign Mr. Polk or General Jackson, or anybody. 
There was nothing like a party spirit in this speech. If the gentle- 
man so understood me, he entirely misunderstood me. I stated the 
fact that Mr. Polk and Mr. Buchanan had been applied to by the 
local government of Nicaragua for the intervention of this govern- 
ment to protect it from the aggressions of the British. I stated, and 
proved the fact, that the Monroe doctrine had never been carried 
out — that Mr. Polk on that occasion had declined to interfere ; but 
I disclaim entirely assailing him, and endeavor to reconcile his whole 
course of conduct as being consistent with what he stated in the 
House of Kepresentatives on the Panama mission. 

Me. Douglas. — I accept the explanation. It is perfectly satisfac- 
tory, but I am very unfortunate in apprehending the meaning of 
language. He said that Mr, Polk had avowed himself in favor of. 
Inserting the Monroe doctrine. He then said that Mr. Polk had 
abandoned and refused to carry it out when this question arose. He 
said the President of Nicaragua, to use his own language, " poked 
that declaration into Mr. Polk's own teeth." 

Me. Clayton. — I used no such word. 

Me. Douglas. — At least, that he thrust it into his teeth. 

Me. Clayton. — I did not. 

Me. Douglas. — Well, never mind about the precise word. At all 
events, he went on to show that Mr. Polk was pledged to the Mon-v 
roe doctrine, that he failed to carry it out, that no administration 
ever carried it out, that it had been abandoned whenever a question 
arose which gave an opportunity for carrying it into effect. When 
he chose to put Mr. Polk into the position of making declarations 
and violating them, making protests and abandoning them, making 
threats and never executing them, I very naturally supposed, accord- 
ing to the notion of a western man, that he was attack^ig him. 
• Laughter.) 

Mr. OlaytoiST. — I endeavor to sliow that Mr. Polk ha-l noude bis 


iccommendation to the Congress of tlie United States that he was 
perfectly justifiable in not considering that as tlie establislied doc- 
trine of the country, because the Congress of the United States had 
never adopted it. On that principle I endeavor to reconcile the 
course of Mr. Polk with itself. The gentleman has undertaken to 
represent me as assailing Mr. Polk, when if he had paid attention to 
what I said — unfortunately he was out during the greater portion of 
the time I was discussing the subject — he would have seen that I was 
endeavoring to prove that the course of that President of the United 
States, in this particular, was made liable to the exception which is 
taken to it ; that he was not bound by the declaration of the Monroe 
doctrine unless Congress adopted it, because he was not the govern- 

Me. Douglas. — Of course I accept the explanation of the senator 
with a great deal of pleasure, and I am gratified to know that J 
misapprehend him ; but it really did appear to me that I waa 
justified in putting that construction upon what he said, inasmuch 
as he went on to show that when he came into the State Department, 
he found Great Britain with her protectorate over the Mosquito 
coast, and spreading over more than half of Central America — that 
during Mr. Polk's administration, and while he was negotiating the 
treaty of peace with Mexico, Great Britain seized the town of San 
Juan, at the mouth of the proposed canal, and that Mr. Polk and Mr. 
Buchanan remained silent, withdut even a protest against this unjus- 
tifiable aggression ; and when he denounced that seizure as an act 
originating in hostility to this country, to cut off cornmunication 
with our Pacific possessions ; and when he said that it would have 
been wiser to have closed the door and shut out the British lion, than 
to allow him to enter unresisted, and then attempt to expel him ; 
and when he boasted of having expelled the British lion after Mr. 
Polk and Mr. Buchanan had permitted him to enter the house in 
contempt of their declaration of the Monroe doctrine, I really thought 
that he was attempting to censure Mr. Polk for letting the lion come in ; 
but it seems I was mistaken. He did not mean that, and not meaning 
it, upon my word I do not know what he did mean. (Laughter.) 

When I heard all this, and much more of the same tenor, it oc- 
curred to me that it amounted to a pretty good arraignment of Mr. 
Polk and his administration ; and that his object was to glorify him- 
self and General Taylor, at the expense of Mr. Buchanan and Mr. 
Polk, by accusing the latter of having tamely submitted to British 
aggressions of great enormity, which the forn)er promptly rebuked 
by expelling the British from Central America. Let me ask him the 
question — did the Clayton and Bulwer treaty expel the British from 
Central America ? Has England abandoned her protectorate ? "What 
power has she surrendered ? What functionary has she recalled ? 
What portion of the country — what inch of territory has she given 
up? Will the senator from Delaware inform me what England hai 
abandoned in pursuance or by virtue of the Clayton and Bnl^wei 


treaty ? I can show him where she has extended her possessione 
since the date of that treaty, and in cor tempt of its stipulations. I 
can point him to the seizure of the Bay Islands and the erection of 
them into a colony — to the extension of her jurisdiction in the 
vicinity of the Balize — ^to her invasion of the Territory of Honduras 
on the main land — and to the continuance of her protectorate ovei 
the Mosquito coast. I can point him to a series of acts designed by 
Great Britain to increase her power and extend her possessions iu 
that quarter. Will he point me to any one act by which she has re- 
duced her power or curtailed her possessions ? He boasts of having 
expelled the British from Central America. Will he have the kind- 
ness to inform the Senate how, when, and where this has been 
effected ? Where is the evidence to sustain this declaration ? I called 
for information on this point in my speech the utlier day. The 
senator replied to all other parts of that speech in detail and at great 
length. Of course, want of time was the reason for his omission to 
respond to these pertinent inquiries. (Laughter.) 

Me. Clayton. — No, sir ; I replied to it, but the senator was ou 
ol his seat. 

Me. Douglas. — I was in my seat the most of the time the senator 
was speaking on that part of the subject, but unfortunately I heard 
ao response to this interrogatory. Now, sir, in regard to this Bay 
Island colony, I may be permitted to say, although it is by the way 
of digression from the line of argument which I was marking out for 
myself, that it presents a clear case not only in derogation of the 
Monroe doctrine, but in direct violation and contempt of the Clayton 
and Bulwer treaty. I will do the senator the justice to say, that the 
Bay Island colony has not been erected in pursuance of the treaty, 
but in derogation of its provisions. The question arises, are we 
going to submit tamely to the establishment of this new colony? If 
we acquiesce in it we submit to a double wrong — a contravention of 
our avowed policy in regard to European colonization on this conti- 
nent ; and a palpable and open violation of the terms and stipulations 
of the Clayton and Bulwer treaty. If we tamely submit to this two- 
fold wrong, the less we say henceforth in regard to European colo- 
aization on the American continent, the better for our own credit. 

Here is a case where we must act promptly if we ever intend to 
act. I do not wish to make an issue with England about the Balize 
— she has been in possession there longer than our nation has existed 
as an independent republic. I do not wish to make an issue with 
her in regard to Jamaica, because she cannot surrender it upon our 
demand without dishonor, and she is bound to fight if driven to an 
extremity on that point. I do not want to make an issue with 
her in reference to any colony she has upon the continent or adjacent 
to it, where she may be said to have had a long and peaceful 
possession. Sir, if I was going to make the issue on any one of 
these points, I would pursue a more manly course by declaring war 
&t once instead of resorting to such an expedient. I would mak« th^ 

STEPHftN A.Douglas. 45 

issue solely and distinctly on the Bay Island colony, for the reason 
that there she is clearly in the wrong, the act having been done in 
violation of her plighted faith. It was done in contempt of our 
avowed policy. She cannot justify it before the civilized world, and 
therefore, dare not tight upon such an issue. England will light us 
when her honor compels her to do it, and she will fight us for no 
other cause. We can require Great Britain to discontinue the Baj 
Island colony, and I call upon the friends of the Clayton-Bulwef 

■ treaty, whose provisions are outraged by that act, to join in the de- 
Toand that that colony be discontimied. Upon that point we are iu 
the right : England is in the wrong ; and she cannot, she dare not 
fight upon it. And, sir, when England backs out of one colony upon 
our remonstrance, it will be a long time before she will establish 
another upon this continent without consulting us. And, sir, when 
England shall have refrained from interfering in the affairs of the 
American continent without consulting the wishes of this govern- 

- nient, what other power on earth will be willing to stand forward 
and do that which England concedes it prudent not to attempt ? I may 
be permitted to say, therefore, that tlie only issue that I desire to see 
at this time, upon our foreign relations, as they are now presented to 
me, is upon the Bay Island colony : and let us require that that be 
discontinued, and that the terms of our treaty stipulations be obeyed 
and fulfilled. Wh*n that issue shall have been made and decided in 
our favor, we will not have much need for general resolutions about 
the Monroe doctrine in future. 

=35^- But, sir, this was a digression. The point that I was discussing 
was this : that while it has been a matter of boast for years that the 
Clayton and Bulwer treaty drove Great Britain out of Central 
America, she has not surrendered an inch ; and what is more, she is 
now proposing negotiations with us with a view to new arrange- 
ments, by which she shall hereafter give up her protectorate. Yes, sir, 
your late secretary of state and President, Everett and Fillmore, have 
communicated to Congress the fact that the British minister was pro- 
posing new negotiations, new arrangements, by which Great Britain 
shall hereafter give up that which the senator makes it a matter of 
boast that he had secured by his treaty. That is a little curious. I 
do not understand this self-gratulation of having accomplished a great 
and wonderful object, by the expelling of the British lion from the 
place where Mr. Polk allowed him to come and abide, and still a new 
negotiation or a new arrangement is deemed necessary to secure that 
which the senator from Delaware boasts of having accomplished long 
since ! 

England professes to be desirous of surrendering her protectorate. 
Then, why does she not do it ? The British minister proposes to 
open negotiations by which England shall withdraw her authority 
from Central x\raerica, and the late secretary of state (Mr. Everett) 
entertains the proposition favorably, while the senator from Delaware 
congratulates the country upon his having effected the desired eu4 
m his treaty three years a£0. 


If Messrs. Everett and Fillmore were correct in entertaining Mr. 
Orampton's proposition for a new arrangement, certainly the senatoi 
from Delaware is at fault in saying that his treaty expelled the Brit- 
ish from Central America. My opinion as to whether it did expel 
them or not, is a matter of not much consequence. I have always 
thought the language of the treaty was so equivocal, that no man 
could say with certainty, whether it did abolish the protectorate or 
not. One clause seemed to abolish it ; another seemed to recognize 
its existence, and to restrain its exercise ; and you could make as 
good an argument on one side as the other. But I gave notice at 
the time the treaty was ratified, that I would take the American side, 
and stand by the senator from Delaware in claiming that England 
was bound to quit ; but our late secretary of state and the President, 
Everett and Fillmore, think otherwise ; and now it becomes a 
question whether new negotiations to accomplish that very desirable 
object are necessary or not ? 

Mr. President, I return to the point which I was discussing when 
the senator interrupted me, and led me off in this digression, to wit , 
That the simple question presented in this matter, when stripped of 
all extraneous circumstances, was this : Should we have accepted, 
when tendered, an exclusive right of way forever, from one ocean to 
the other ? The senator from Delaware thought not, and the admin- 
istration of General Taylor sustained him in his view of the question. 
I thought we ought to have embraced the offer which tendered us 
the exclusive control forever over this great interoceanic canal. 

The senator attempts to sustain his position by quoting the 
authority of General Jackson and Mr. Polk. Sir, he is unfortunate 
in his quotation. I do not think that, fairly considered, he has any 
such authority. I am aware that in 1835 that senator offered a 
resolution in this body, which was adopted, recommending a nego- 
tiation to open the Isthmus to all nations, and that General Jackson 
sent out Colonel Biddle to collect and report information on the 
subject ; bvt when the resolution was adopted, the question was then 
presented under circumstances very different from those which 
existed w> en the senator suppressed the Hise treaty. At that time 
the Central American States had granted to the Netherlands the 
privilec;e of making a canal. Others had already secured the privi- 
lege, aid in that point of view it was reasonable to suppose that the 
most we could do was to get an equal privilege with European 
nations. That was not the case presented when the exclusive privi- 
lege was offered to us and the offer declined by the senator from 
Delaware without consulting the Senate. 

But there is no evidence that General Jackson ever entertained 
the opinions attributed to him. Colonel Biddle, who was appointed 
by General Jackson to explore the routes and collect and report 
information, availed himself of his official position to obtain an 
exclusive privilege to himself and his associates on private account. 
When the existence of this private contract came to the knowledge 
of the secretary of state, Mr. Forsyth, he reprimanded our charge a1 


N'aw Granada, for having given any countenance to it. And why 1 
Not because it contained an exclusive privilege to the United States, 
for it did not give us any privilege. Mr. Biddle had been sent out 
there to get information to be laid before the administration. He 
had no pow^r to negotiate — no authority to open diplomatic rela- 
tions. He Lad no power to take any one step in procuring the privi- 
lege. He made use of his official position, and, in the opiniou of the 
administration, abused it, by securing a private grant to himself, 
without the authority, protection, or sanction of the government of 
his own counlry. 

Mr. Forsyth was indignant because his agent had disobeyed his 
authority, and turned the public employment into a private specula- 
tion. That is not the question presented here. That contract did 
not give the United States the privilege at all. It gave it to 
Colonel Biddle and his associates. But I find nothing in that trans- 
action, and in all the public documents relating to it, to show that 
General Jackson would have refused the exclusive privilege to his 
own country if it had been tendered to him. 

How is it, then, with Mr. Polk ? According to my recollection 
of the facts, New Granada had granted the privilege of making a 
canal to a Frenchman by the name of Du Quesne — I will not be cer- 
tain of his name — and it was desirable to get permission to carry the 
mails across there. The grant had passed into the possession of a 
citizen of a foreign power, and the most that our government could 
ask, was to be put upon an equal footing with that other power. It 
did not present the question of the privilege being tendered to us, 
and we refusing to accept it. 

But I shall take no time in going into a vindication of those ad- 
ministrations. In the remarks that I made the other day, I chose to 
vindicate my own course without reference to past administrations 
or present party associations, and I will pursue the same line of de- 
bate now. One word upon the point, made by the senator, that the 
Hise treaty was unconstitutional. Was it not constitutional to 
accept the exclusive privilege to the United States ? If it was not, 
and his constitutional objection is valid, it goes a little too far. If 
you had no right to accept an exclusive privilege to us under the 
Constitution, what right had you to take a partnership privilege in 
company with Great Britain? If you had no right to take th« 
privilege for the benefit of American citizens alone, what right had 
you to take one for the benefit of Englishmen and Americans jointly ? 
[f you have no right to make a treaty by which you will protect an 
American company in making that canal, what right had you to 
oaake a treaty by which you pledged yourselves to protect a I3ritish 
company in making the same work ? I choose to put the senator 
upon the defensive, and let him demonstrate his right to do thia 
thing jointly with England, and then I will draw from his argument 
my right to do it for the benefit of America alone. I choose to pul 
Aim^ in the position of demonstrating the existence of the constito 


tional power. He, in his treaty, exercised the power. T have not. 
And he, having exercised it, having pledged the faith of the natioii 
to do the act, I have a right to call upon him to show the authority, 
ander the Constitution of the United States, to make a guaranty 
jointly with England for the benefit of English subjects as well aj 
American citizens ; and when he proves the existence of that power^ 
he has proved the right of the government to do the same thing foi 
the benefit of America and American citizens, omitting England an^ 
British subjects. 

Sir, as I before said, I have no fondness for this special pleading 
about the peculiar provisions of a treaty, when the real point was 
the extent of the privilege which we should accept. Now, sir, I 
was in favor of an exclusive privilege, and I will tell you why. I 
desired to see a canal made ; and when made, I desired to see it 
under the control of a power enabled to protect it. I desiretl to see it 
open to the commerce of the whole world, under our protection upon 
proper terms. How was that to be done, except by an exclusive 
privilege to ourselves ? Then, let us open it to the commerce of 
the world on such terms and conditions as we should deem wise, just 
and politic. Could we not do this as well by our volition as England 
could in conjunction with us ? Would it not be as creditable to ns 
as a nation to have acquired it ourselves, and then opened it freely, 
as to have gone into a partnership by which we should have no con- 
trol in prescribing the tenns upon which it should be opened ? And 
besides, if the grant had been made to us, and we had accepted it, 
and then thrown it open to the commerce of all nations on our own 
terms and conditions, we held in our hands a right which would have 
been ample security for every nation under heaven to keep the peace 
with the United States. The moment England abu-sed the privilege 
by seizing any more islands, by establishing any more colonies, by 
invading any more rights, or by violating any more treaties, we 
would use our privileges, shut up the canal, and exclude her com- 
merce from the Pacific. We would hold a power in our hands 
which might be exercised at any moment to preserve peace and pre- 
vent injustice. Peace and progress being our aim, we should still 
have continued to be the only government on earth whose public 
policy from the beginning has been justly and honestly to enforce the 
laws of nations with fidelity toward all the nations. Sir, when you 
surrendered that exclusive right, you surrendered a great element of 
power, which in our hands would have been wielded in the cause of 
justice for the benefit of mankind. 

I was not for such a restrictive policy as would exclude Britiul 
vessels from going through the canal, or the vessels of any othoi 
nation which should respect our rights. I would let them all pa*.t, 
as long as they did not abuse the privilege; close it against th^.ta 
when they did. I insist that the American people occupy a positiw^i 
on this continent which rendered it natural and proper that we shoi.' J 
exercise that power. I have no fear of a war with England. . 


have none now. War should be avoided as long as possible. But, 
sir, you need have, no apprehension of a war with her, for the reason 
that if we keep in the right, she dare not fight us, and she will not, 
especially for anything rehiting to American affairs. She knows she 
has given a bond to keep the peace, with a mortgage on all her real 
estate in America as collateral security, and she knows she forfeits 
her title to the whole, without hope of redemption, if she commits a 
breach of the bond. She will not fight unless compelled. We could 
have fortified that canal at each end, and in time of war could have 
closed it against our enemies, and opened it at our own pleasure. We 
had the power of doing it ; for the Hise treaty contained provisions for 
the construction of fortifications at each terminus and at such points 
along the line of the canal as we thought proper. We had the 
privilege of fortifjnng it, and we had the right to close it against any 
power which should abuse the privilege which we conferred. 

Then, sir, what was the objection to the acceptance of that exclu- 
sive privilege? I do not see it, sir. I know what were the private 
arguments urged in times which have gone by, and which I trust 
never will return ; that England and other European powers never 
would consent that the United States should have an exclusive con- 
trol over the canal. Well, sir, I do not know that they would have 
consented, but of one thing I am certain, I would never have asked 
their consent. When Nicaragua desired to confer the privilege, and 
when we were willing to accept it, it was purely an American ques- 
tion with which England had no right to interfere. It was an Ame- 
rican question about which Europe had no right to be consulted. 
Are we under any more obligation to consult European powers 
about an American question than the allied powers were, in their 
Congress, to consult us, when establishing the equilibrium of Europe 
by the agency of the Holy Alliance ? America was not consulted 
then. Our name does not appear in all the proceedings. It was a 
European question, about which it was presumed America had 
nothing to say. This question of a canal in Nicaragua, when nego- 
tiations were pending to give it to us, was so much an American 
question, that the English government was not entitled to be con- 
sulted. England not consent! She will acquiesce in your doing 
what you may deem right so long as yoii consent to allow her to hold 
Canada, the Bermudas, Jamaica, and her other American possessions. 
I hope the time has arrived when we will not be told any more that 
Europe will not consent to this, and England will not consent to that. 
I heard that argument till I got tired of it when we were discussing 
the resolutions for the annexation of Texas. I heard it again on the 
Oregon question, and I heard it on the California question. It has 
been said on every occasion whenever we had an issue aboi;t acquir- 
ing territory, that England would not consent ; yet she has acquiesced 
in whatever we had the courage and the justice to do. And why ? 
Because we kept ourselves in the right. England was so situated 
with her possessions on this continent, that she dare not fight in an 


nnjust cause. We would have been in the right to have accepted tbo 
privilege of making this canal, and England would never have dared 
to provoke a controversy with us. I think the time has come when 
America should perform her duty according to our own judgment, 
and our own sense of justice, without regard to what European 
powers might say with respect to it. I think this nation is about 
of age. I think we have a right to judge for ourselves. Let us 
always do right, and put the consequences behind us. 

But, sir, I do not wish to detain the Senate upon this point, or to 
prolong the discussion. I have a word or two to say in reply to the 
]-emarks of the senator from Delaware upon so much of my speech 
as related to the pledge in the Clayton and Bulwer treaty, never to 
annex any portion of that country. I objected to that clause in the 
treaty, upon the ground that I was unwilling to enter into a treaty 
stipulation with any European power in respect to this continent, 
that we woidd not do in the future, whatever our duty, interest, honor, 
and safety, might require in the course of events. The senator infers 
that I desire to annex Central America because I was unwilling to 
give a pledge that we never would do it. He reminded m'i that 
there was a clause in the treaty with Mexico containing the stipula- 
tion, that in certain contingencies we would never annex any portion 
of that country. Sir, it was unnecessary that he should remind me 
of that provision. He has not forgotten how hard I struggled to get 
that clause out of the treaty where it was retained in opposition to 
my vote. Had the senator given me his aid then to defeat that pro- 
vision in the Mexican treaty, I would be better satisfied now with 
his excuse for having inserted a still stronger pledge in his treaty. 
But having advocated that pledge then, he should not attempt to 
avoid the responsibility of his own act by citing it as a precedent. I 
was unwilling to bind ourselves by treaty for all time to come never 
to Jinnex any more territory. I am content for the present with the 
territory we have. I do not v,'ish to annex any portion of Mexico 
now. I did not wish to annex any part of Central America then, 
nor do I at this time. 

But I cannot close my eyes to the history of this country tor the 
last half century. Fifty years ago the question was being debated 
in this Senate whether 'it was wise or not to acquire any territory on 
the west bank of the Mississippi, and it was then contended that w© 
could never with safety extend beyond that river. It was at that 
time seriously considered whether the Alleghany Mountains should 
not be the barrier beyond which we should never pass. At a sub- 
sequent date, after we had acquired Louisiana and Florida, more 
liberal views began to prevail, and it was thought that perhaps we 
might venture to establish one tier of States west of the Mississippi ; 
but in order to prevent the sad calamity of an undue expansion of 
our territory, the policy was adopted of establishing an Indian Ter- 
ritory, with titles in perpetuity, all along the western borders ot 
those States, so that no more new States could possibly be created 


In that direction. That barrier could not arrest the onward progress 
of our people. They burst through it, and passed the Eocky Moun- 
tains, and were only arrested by the waters of the Pacific. Who 
then is prepared to say that in the progress of events, having met 
with the barrier of the ocean in our western course, we may not be 
compelled to turn to the north and to the south for an outlet. How 
long is it since the gentleman from Delaware himself thought that 
Uie time would never arrive when we would want California? I am 
aware that he was of that opinion at the time we ratified the treaty, 
and annexed it. 

Mr. Clayton. — How? 

Mu. DoL'GLAS.- By his voting for Mr. Crittenden's resolutions de- 
claring that we did not want any portion of Mexican territory. He 
will find his vote in this volume which I hold in my hand. 1 am 
aware tliat he belonged to that school of politicians wlio thought we 
had territory enougli. I have not forgotten that a respectable por- 
tion of this body, but a few years ago, thouglit it would be prepos- 
terous to bring a country so far distant as California, and so little 
known, into the Union. But it has been done ; and now since Cali- 
fornia has become a member of the confederacy, with her immense 
commerce and inexhaustible resources, we are told that the time will 
never come when the territory lying half way between our Atlantic 
and Pacific possessions will be desirable. Central America is too fai 
off, because it is half way to California, and on the m.ain, direct 
route — on the very route upon which you pay your senators and 
I'epresentatives in Congress their mileage in coining to the capitol of 
the nation I The usual route of travel, tlie public higliway, tlie half- 
way house from one portion of the country to the otlier, is so far dis- 
tant that the man who tliinks the time will ever come when we will 
want it, is deemed a aiadman ! 

Me. Clatton. — Does the senator apply those sentiments to me? 
I do not think so. 

Me. Douglas. — I simply say that such an opinion was indicated by 
the vote of the gentleman on the resolution of Mr. Crittenden. 

Me. Clayton. — The senator is entirely mistaken on that point. 

Me. Dottglas — In order to save time, I waive the point as to the 
senator's vote, althougli it is recorded in the volume before me, and 
he can read it at his leisure. But I am not mistaken in saying that 
the senator on yesterday did ridicule the idea that we were ever to 
want any portion of Central America. He was utterly amazed, and 
in his amazement inquired where were these boundaries ever to cease. 
He wanted to know how far we were going, and if we ex|iected to 
spread over the entire continent. I do not think we will do it in our 
day, but I am not prepared to prescribe limits to tlie area over which 
Democratic ])rinciples may safely spread. I know not what our 
destiny may be. 1 try to keep up with the rp'vit of the age, to keep 
in view the history of the country, see wh^t we h?-ve dene, whither 
we are going, and with what velocity we are moving. Ia «rde-/ to b« 


prepared for those events which it is not in the power of man to 
til wart. 

You may make as many treaties as \ ou please to fetter the limits ot 
this giant republic, and she will burst them all from her, and hei 
course will be onward to a limit which I will not venture to describe. 
Why the noces>itj^ of pledging your faith that you will never annex 
any more of Mexico? Do you not know that you will be comi)ellt'd 
to do it; that you cannot help it; that your treaty will not prevent 
it, and that the only eflect it will have will be to enable European 
powers to accuse us of bad faith when the act is done, and associate 
American faith and Punic faith as synonyn^ous terms ? What is the 
use of your guaranty that you will never erect any fortifications in 
Central America; never annex, occupy, or colonize any portion of 
that country ? How do you know that you can avoid doing it? If 
you make the canal, I ask you if American ciiizens will not settle 
along its line ; whether they will not build up towns at each termi- 
nus ; whether they will not spread over that country, and convert it 
into an American State; whether American principles and American 
institutions will not be firmly planted there? And I ask you how 
many years you think will pass away before you will find the same 
necessity to extend your laws over your own kindred that you found 
in the case of Texas? How long will it be before that day arrives? 
It may not occur in the senator's day nor mine. But so certain as 
this republic exists, so certain as we remain a united people, so cer- 
tain as the laws of progi'ess which have raised us from a mere hand- 
ful to a nughty nation, shall continue to govern our action, just so 
certain are these events to be worked out, and you will be compelled 
to extend your protection in that direction. 

Sir, I am not desirous of hastening the Jay. I am not impatient 
of the time when it shall be realized. I do not wish to give any 
additional impulse to our progress. We are going fast enough. But 
I wish our public policy, our laws, our institutions, should keep up 
with tiie advance in science, in tlie mechanic arts, in agriculture, and 
in everything that tends to make us a great and powerful nation. 
Let us look the future in the face, and let us prepare to meet that 
which cannot be avoided. Hence I was unwilhng to adopt that 
clause in the treaty guaranteeing that neither party would ever annex, 
colonize, or occupy any portion of Central America. 1 was opposed 
to it for another reason. It was not reciprocal. Great Britain had 
possession of the island of Jamaica. Jamaica was the nearest armed 
and fortified point to the terminus of the canal. Jamaica at present 
commands the entrance of the canal; and all that Great Britain 
desired was, inasmuch as she had possession of the only place com- 
manding the canal, to procure a stipulation that no oilier power 
would ever erect a fortification nearer its terminus. That stipulation 
IS equivalent to an agreement that England may fortify, but that we 
never shall. Sir, when you look at the whole history of that ques- 
tion you will see that England, with her far-seeing, sagacious policy, 


has attempted to cifciimscribsand restrict and restrain the freo action 
of tl?.is government. When was it tljat Great Britain seized the pos- 
*iSsion of the terminus of tliis canal? Just six days after tlie signing 
of tlie treaty wliich secured to us Oaiifornia! Tiie moment England 
saw, tliat by the pending negotiations with Mexico, Culiforuia was to 
be acquired, she collected her fleets and made preparations for the 
seizure of the port of San Juan, in order that she might be gate- 
keeper on the public highway to our new possessions on the Pacific. 
Within six days from the time we >igned tlie treaty, England seized 
l)y force and violence the very point now in controversy. Is not this 
fact indicative of her motives ? Is it not clear that her object was to 
obstruct our passage to our new possessions ? Hence I do not sympa- 
thize with that feeling which the senator ex[)ressed yesterday, that 
It was a pity to have a difference with a nation so friendly to us as 
England. Sir, I do not see the evidence of her friendship. It is not in 
the nature of things that she can be our friend. It is impossible slie 
can love us. I do not blame her for not loving us. Sir, we have 
wounded her vanity and humbled her pride. She can never forgive 
us. But for us, she would be the first power on the face of the 
earth. But for us, she would have the prospect of maintaining that 
proud position which she lield for so long a period. We are in her way. 
She is jealous of us, and jealousy forbids the idea of friendship. Eng- 
land does not love us ; slie cannot love us, and we do not love her either. 
We have some things in the past to remember that are not agreeable. 
Slie has more in the present to humiliate her that she cannot forgive. 
I do not wish to administer to tl>e feeling of jealousy and rivalrj 
that exists between us and England. I wish to soften and allay it 
as much as possible ; but why close our eyes to the fact that friend- 
ship is impossible while jealoiisy exists. Hence England seizes every 
island in the sea and rock upon our coast where she can plant a gun 
to intimidate us or to annoy our commerce. Her policy has been to 
seize every military and naval station the world over. Why does 
she pay such enormous sums to keep her post at Gibraltar, except to 
hold it " in terrorem''' over the commerce of the Mediterranean ? 
Why her enormous expense to maintain a garrison at the Cape of 
Good Hope, except to command the great passage on the way to the 
Indies ? Why is she at the expense to keep her position on the little 
barren islands, Bermuda and the miserable Bahamas, and all the 
other islands along our coast, except as sentinels upon our actions ? 
Does England hold Bermuda because of any profit it is to her? Has 
she any other motive for retaining it except jealousy which stimulates 
hostility to us ? Is it not the case with all her possessions along our 
coast? Why, then, talk about the friendly bearing of England 
toward us when she is extending that policy every day? IS'ew 
treaties of friendship, seizure of islands, and erection of new colonies 
in violation of her treaties, seem to be the order of the day. In view 
of this state of things, I am in favor of meeting England as we meet 
ft rival ; meet her boldly, treat her justly and fairly, but make ^o 


humiliatiiia: concession even for the sake of peace. She has as mncli 
reason to make concessions to us as we have to make them to her. 
I would not willingly disturb the peace of the world ; but, sir, the Bay 
Island colony must be discontinued. It violates the treaty. 

ISTow, Mr. President, it is not my purpose to say another word upon 
"our foreign relations. I have only occupied so much time as was 
necessary to put myself right in respect to the speech made by the 
senator from Delaware. He advocates one lino of policy in regard 
to our foreign relations, and I have deemed it my duty to advocate 
another. It has been my object to put the two systems by the side 
of each other that the public might judge between us. 

Mr. Mason having continued the debate on Monday, March 
14th, Mr. Clayton occupied a portion of that and the succeed- 
mg days in a reply to Mr. Douglas — to which, on Wednesday, 
the I7th of March, Mr. Douglas responded: 

Me. President : I had a right to expect that the senator from 
Delaware, in his reply, would have ventured upon an argument 
against the positions which I had assumed in my former speech, and 
which he had assailed. It will be observed, upon a close examination, 
that he has evaded nearly every point in controversy between us, 
under the cover of free indulgence in coarse personalities. I do not 
complain of this. He had a right to choose his own course of dis- 
cussion. Perhaps it was prudent in him to pursue the course which 
he adopted. I shall not follow his example, however. I may n\, '■• 
have the same inducements that may have prompted him. If I had 
been driven from nearly every position I had assumed in debate — if 
nearly every material fact I had asserted had been negatived and 
disproved by official documents bearing my own signatures — if I had 
been convicted of giving one explanation of my conduct at one time, 
and at other times diiferent and contradictory reasons, I might be 
prompted to seek refuge under personalities from the exposure that 
might be made. Sir, I pass that all by. 

The senator, as a last resort, attempted to get up unkind feelings 
between my political friends and myself in regard to this debate. He 
endeavored to show that my speech was an assault upon every sena- 
tor who took a diiferent course. He went further, and charged that 
I, as a Presidential candidate, was pursuing this course in order to 
destroy and break down rivals in my own party. Sir, these insidious 
and disreputable assaults do not disturb my equanimity. The object 
is to enlist, from prejudice and unworthy motives, a sympathy in the 
course of discussion which he has attempted to maintain. But I 
appeal to the Senate if I assailed any senator upon this floor, either 
in regard to the Hise treaty or the Clayton and Bulwer treaty. I 
appeal to the Senate if I mentioned the name of any senator, or stated 
bow any one man had voted, I did not disclose even how the vote 


stood. No citizen in America would have known the vote of any 
senator on this floor from my speech, or from my particijjation in the 
recent discussion ; and I have yet to learn that a vindication of my 
own course involves an assault upon those who chose to dilfer with 
me. I have not understood the speeches of the senator from Michi- 
gan (Mr. Cass) and of the senator from Virginia (Mr. Mason) and of 
other senators, who have spoken on this question, in opposition to 
some of my views, as an attack on myself. It was their duty to vin- 
dicate their own course with the reasons which prompted them ; and 
it was my right and my duty to give the reasons which induced and 
compelled me to pursue the course that I did. 

I do not choose to occupy the time of the Senate in a matter that 
partakes so much of a personal character. But the senator cannot 
avail himself of that argument in vindication of his course in sup- 
pressing the Hise treaty. He is not supported by that array of names 
which he has produced for that act. -No one of the senators ever did 
sustain him, so far as I know, in suppressing the Hise treaty. That 
treaty was never submitted to the Senate for ratification. The Se- 
nate were never permitted to examine it. The treaty, to this day, 
has been withheld from the Senate. You will have to go elsewhere 
than to the files of this body to find that treaty. How can it be said 
that senators have sustained him in his rejection of the Hise treaty, 
when he had deprived the Senate of an opportunity of showing 
whether they were for or against it? Sir, he cannot have the benefit 
of those names which he has quoted to shelter him upon that point. 

Again, sir, he has quoted all the emineat names from General 
Jackson down to the present time, to support him in his refusal to 
accept of the exclusive control of the canal for his own country. Sir, 
he has no authority thus to quote them ; he has no authority for say- 
ing that any one of those eminent statesmen were opposed to such a 
privilege as the Hise treaty showed that we could have acquired. It 
is true that when Central America granted a privilege to a company 
in the Netherlands to make this canal, the administration of General 
Jackson, under that state of facts, M'ere content with asserting our 
right to an equal participation. It is also true that when a French- 
man had procured a charter for a railroad across the isthmus ol 
Panama, and thus it had gone into the hands of foreigners, the ad- 
ministration of President Polk were content to assert our claim to an 
equal right. But it is not true that either of them ever refused to ac- 
cept an exclusive privilege for this country when voluntarily tendered. 

I am not going to occupy the attention of the Senate with an array 
of names for or against this proposition. I quoted no names in my first 
argument. I addressed myself to the merits of the question, and chose 
to decide it by arguments upon its merits, and not by the authority of 
great names. I would rather see the senator sustain his position now 
by arguments upon the merits of his own official action, and not by an 
appeal to the action of great men who lived at a difi:ercnt period, anc 
whose acta were dependent upon entirely difl^'erent circumstan'^eo. 


One -word more, and I proceed to the main point at issue. Th« 
senator has accused me of having attempted to make this a i)art} 
question. How did I attempt it ? In my speech of February last, 
DO which he replied, he cannot find the term Whig or Democrat, oj 
a political allusion, or a partisan argument. I explained my own 
principles of action as evinced in my votes ; and I expressly stated 
that they were not sanctioned by either Whig or Democratic adminis 
crations upon some of the points. I did not invoke the aid of sympa 
thy of party. I was willing to stand upon the truth and the soundness 
of my own record, and leave the future to determine whether I wau 
right or wrong on the question. Sir, partisan politics have been 
introduced by the senator, and not by me. The senator, in his speec?i 
in reply to me, endeavored to show that Democratic administrations 
had done this, and Democratic administrations had done that, and 
appealed to partisan authority, to sustain himself. I admit his right 
to introduce party questions, and to appeal to pai-ty names as author- 
ity. I have not done it, and I deny his right to charge it upon uie. 
Sir, I invoked the aid of no partisan feeling or party organization for 
the support of the position I maintained. But when the senator 
showed that a majority of my own party, on the ratification of the 
Clayton and Bulwer treaty, had recorded their names in opposition 
to mine, he ought to have been content, without charging that I was 
making it a party question. It was not a very agreeable thing to me 
to be compelled to difler with three-fourths of the Senate, including 
a majority of my own political friends, and nothing but a sense of 
duty would have compelled me to take the responsibility of such a 

Now, let us go back to the real point. Why all these attempts' to 
avoid the main issue? In the first place the senator denied that he 
was responsible for not sending the Hise treaty to the Senate, inas- 
much as it had been rejected by Central America. Then, when I 
showed that the rejection of tliat treaty was procured by his own 
agent in obedience to his instructions, he denied the existence of the 
instructions. When I produced the instructions, and showed tliat 
the agent acted in obedience to what he believed to be their true 
meaning, the senator acknowledged his opposition to the treaty, and 
justified it upon the ground that it guaranteed the independence of 
Nicaragua. When I showed that he could not have objected to it on 
that ground, for the reason that at that very time he proposed a 
guaranty, in connection with Great Britain, of the independence of 
Nicaragua, he abandons that position, and is driven to the extremity 
of seeking refuge under wliat he chooses to consider obn'ixious 
details. When I showed that his objections to the details coi Jd not 
avail him, because it was no reason for withholding the treaty 
according to the usages of the Senate, he then comes to tlie point 
that it was better to have a partnership privilege than an exclusive 
one. That brings us to the real question. Why could we not have 
oome to it at once ? If he was right in his preference for a Europeap 


BTEPHElf A. t)0lJaLA8. 57 

partnership over an exclusive privilege to liis own countrj^ why did 
he not avow the fact at once and justify his conduct, instead of wast- 
ing the time of the Senate in requiring me to prove facts which 
ought to have been confessed, and which have been proven by his 
own written testimony, in opposition to his own denial? 

In his last speech the senator chose to persevere in representing 
me as the advocate of a canal to be made through Central America, 
with funds from the Treasury of the United States. I need not 
remind the senator that he had no authority, from anything I have 
said, to attribute to me such a purpose. I certainly did not assume 
any such position, while my remarks were calculated to negative 
such an idea. My position was this : that while negotiating for the 
right of way for a canal from the Atlantic to tlje Pacific, we should 
have accepted the offer to our own government of the exclusive right 
to control it, instead of a partnership with England nnd the other 
powers of tiie earth. The Hise treaty granted the privilege either 
to the United States or to an American company under our protec- 
tion, at our option. I insisted that we had the same right to take it 
to ourselves that we had to take it jointly with other powers. It 
requires no further exertion of constitutional power to execute and 
maintain and regulate an exclusive privilege to America tlian^t did to 
execute and maintain apartnersliip piivilege with European powers. 
Hence his objections upon that score must fall to the ground. The 
simple question was, whether it would have been wise to accept that 
privilege. Sir, I think it would have been. I am not going to 
repeat the argument I made the other day upon that point. If it 
had been given to us, we could have opened the canal to the world 
upon such terms as we deemed proper. We could have withdrawn 
the use of it wlienever a nation failed to respect our rights. It would 
have been a bond of peace instead of being an apple of discord 
between us and other nations; because when you bring all the great 
Powers of the earth into partnership, constant disputes will arise as 
to the nature and extent of the rights of the respective parties. The 
history of these negotiations proves this fact. 

But, sir, let me ask the senator what he has gained by his rejec- 
tion of the Hise treaty? He has given the world to iinderstand by 
his speeches that he has accomplished two great objects: the one to 
open a canal between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans — the othei 
to put a stop to British encroachments in Central America. Has he 
accomplished either of those objects? I ask what privilege he has 
gained to make a canal? He has not even secured the right of way 
for a canal, either jointly or separately. He is responsible for having 
defeated the project of a canal between the two oceans. He refused 
the grant of the right of way, because it gave the right to control the 
work exclusively to his own country. Tlie treaty which he caused 
to be made, failed to receive tlie sanction of the Senate. Tiius we 
are left without any right of way — without any charter, right, or 
privHege. Instead of acconnplishing that object, he is responsible foi 


its defeat. All that he has to boast of is, that he deprived his own 
country of an inestimable privilege, the necessity and importance of 
which are now conceded on all hands. 

What, then, have we gained by his diplomacy? "Why, sir, after 
having failed in getting the privilege of making the canal, either 
jointly or separately, he makes a treaty with Great Britain by which, 
if we hereafter secure it, the privilege is given to Great Britain as 
well as to ourselves. The Clayton and Bulwer treaty provides that 
Bny right of way or communication which may be secured at any 
future time, sliall be open alike to England and the United States, 
and under the joint control and protection of the two powers. We 
have a treaty with England about a canal in Central America, but 
we have none with any of the Central American States. Let me 
ask, then, how much have we gained ? Has he expelled the British 
from Central America by his treaty? What inch of country have 
they given up. What right have they abandoned ? What functionary 
have they withdrawn? Where is the evidence that you liave driven 
the British from Central America? Are they not still in the full 
enjoyment of their protectorate upon the Mosquito coast? Have you 
driven them from the Balize? 

Tlie senator from Michigan (Mr, Cass), and the chairman of the 
Committee on Foreign Relations (Mr. Mason), in their speeches, have 
maintained that the Clayton and Bulwer treaty would fairly include 
the Balize as a part of Central America. But the senator from Dela- 
ware, while acting as the secretary of state, gave a construction to 
that treaty which excludes the Balize. Tlie senator, therefore, is 
estopped "from saying that he has expelled the British from the 
Balize. The fact shows that he has not driven the British protecto- 
rate from the coast. We find that instead of leaving Central America, 
the British have not only established a colony at the Bay Islands, 
but, if the newspaper information received by the last steamers can 
be credited, they have bombarded the towns upon the main land, and 
taken forcible possession of a part of the state of Honduras. Then 
I repeat the question to the senator, what has he gained ? I can tell 
him what has resulted from his negotiation. He has recognized the 
right of Great Britain and all European powers to interfere with the 
affairs of the American states. He has recognized that right by a 
treaty; and he has guaranteed to England that we will use our good 
offices to enable them to enter into arrangements with these Central 
American states. He has excluded the idea that the question of the 
Central American states is an American question, and by his nego- 
tiation has opened it as a European question. In other words, he 
has, by bis treaty, abolished what is known as the Monroe doctrine, 
with reference to a large portion of the American continent. 

This brings me to the examination of another question. The sena- 
tor from Delaware chose to arraign me upon that porticc of my 
speech, in which I stated that I was unwilling to give a pledge never 
to annex any more territory to the United States. He then went on 


U. argue against annexation, said we were pledged, and that th« 
l»iv.dge given was correct, and attemi)ted to vindicate it. He ar- 
raigned me for having said that such a treaty could not be enforced 
through all time to come. I explained to him that my idea was that 
tlie growtli of this country was so great and so rapid that the bar- 
riers of any treaty would be irresistibly broken through by natural 
causes, over which we bad no control ; and hence that the treaty 
ought not to have been made. He told me that the explanation 
made it worse, and tliat he would sliow that the doctrine involved 
moral turpitude : that he was amazed and grieved that any one here 
from this high place should proclaim such a sentiment. 

Sir, I will proceed to show my authority on that point, wliicb I 
think lie will be compelled to respect. In taking that position, I 
only reiterated the opinions expressed by tiie late secretary of state, 
and now senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Everett), in his letter to 
the Oomte de Sartiges, a few months ago, in respect to the island of 
Cuba ; and when the senator from Delaware arraigns me for utter- 
ing sentiments involving a want of respect for treaty stipulations, I 
will turn him over to the senator from Massachusetts and to ex-Pre- 
sident Fillmore, and allow them to settle that issue between them- 
selves. I wish to call the attention of the senator to the letter of 
Mr. Everett to the Oomte de Sartiges. In that letter you find the 
following passage in regard to a proposed convention stipulating that 
we would never annex Cuba ; 

" The convention would be of no value unless it were lasting ; accordingly 
its- terms express a perpetuity of purpose and obligation. Now, it may well be 
doubted whether the Constitution of the United States would allow the treaty- 
making power to impose a permanent disability on the American government 
for all coming time, and prevent it, under any future change of circumstances, 
from doing what has been so often done in times past. In 1803 the United 
States purchased Louisiana of Prance, and in 1819 they purchased Florida of 
Spain. It is not within the competence of the treaty-making power in 1852 
effectually to bind the government in all its branches ; and for all coining 
time not to make a similar purchase of Cuba." 

The senator fi'om Delaware will see that the late secretary of state, 
Mr. Everett, by the direction of President Fillmore, has pronounced 
such a guaranty to be a violation of the Constitution of the United 
States, and the exercise of an authority not conferred by that instru- 
ment. Sir, if the Constitution gave no authority to make a pledge 
by this government that we will never annex Cuba, I suppose it does 
not authorize a pledge never to annex Central America. The con- 
stitu'.ional objection applies to the Clayton and Bulwer treaty, in re- 
lation to Central America, wifeh the same force that it did to the 
proposed convention in respect to Cuba. They take higher ground 
tlian I did. I was not willing to do that which would involve a 
breach of faith in the progress of events. But I did not go so far as 
to deny the constitutional power to make such a treaty. And, there- 
fore, I ask the senator why he did not arraign President Fillmore—' 



wliy lie did not arraign the late secretary of state, Mr. Everett, for 
uttering those monstrous sentiments, instead of hurling his anathe- 
mas upon m}' head, as if I had been the only man in America wJio 
ever ventured to proclaim such opinions ? According to the o])in- 
ions of President Fillmore, and his secretary of state, as promulgated 
in Mr. Everett's celebrated letter, and applauded by the almost una- 
nimous voice of the American people, the Clayton and Bnlwer treaty 
w^as a palpable violation of the Constitution of the United States. 
But Mr. Fillmore and Mr. Everett were not content with denying 
the power of this government, under tlie Constitution, to enter into 
this treaty stipulation. They deny its propriety, its justice, its wis- 
dom, as well as the right to make it. I will read a passage upon this 
point : 

" There is another strong objection to the proposed agreement. Among the 
oldest traditions of the Federal Government is an aversion to political alliances 
with European powers. In his memorable Farewell Address, President Wash- 
ington says : ' The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, 
in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political con- 
nection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them 
be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.' President Jefferson, in 
his inaugural address, in 1801, warned the country against entangling alliances. 
This expression, now become proverbial, was unquestionably used by Mr. Jef 
ferson in reference to the alliance with France of 1778, an alliance at the time 
of incalculable benefit to the United States, but which in less than twenty years 
came near involving us in the wars of the French Revolution, and laid the foun- 
dation of heavy claims upon Congress not extinguished to the present day. It 
is a significant coincidence that the particular provision of the alliance which 
occasioned these evils was that under which France called upon us to aid -her 
in defending her West Indian possessions against England. Nothing less than 
the unbounded influence of Washington rescued the Union from the perils of 
that crisis and preserved our neutrality." 

As the senator from Delaware is fond of the authority of great 
Qames, I not only furnish him with tlie name of the late secretary of 
state, and that of the late President of the United States, upon the 
points to which I have referred, but I have tlie authority of these 
gentlemen for saying that his doctrine with regard to Central America 
is in violation of the solemn warnings of the Father of his Country, 
and in derogation of the protests of Mr. Jefferson, repeated ovei 
and over again during his eventful life. I find that the late secretary 
of state has again, in another passage, summed up the objections 
which I entertained to the Clayton and Bulwer treaty, and I will 
call the attention of the Senate to it. It is this : 

" But the President has a graver objection to entering into the proposed con- 
vention. He has no wish to disguise the feeling, that the compact, although 
equal in its terms, would be very unequal in substance France and England, 
by entering into it, would disable themselves from obtaining possession of an 
island remote from their seats of government, belonging to another European 
power, whose natural right to possess it must always be as good as their own 
—a distant island, in another hemisphere, and one which by no ordinary or 
peaoeful course of things could ever belong to either of them. If the present 


bftiance of powei in Europe shonld be brolien up ; if Spain should become un 
flble to maintain the island in her possession, and France and England should 
be engaged in a death-struggle with each other, Cuba might then be the prize 
of the victor. Till these events all take place, the President does not see how 
Cuba can belong to any European power but Spain. The United States, on 
the other hand, would, by the proposed convention, disable themselves from 
making an acquisition which might tike place without any disturbance of ex- 
isting foreign relations, and in the natural order of things." 

If tlie prosposed guaranty never to annex Cuba was not reciprocal 
as between the United States and England, how is it that it can be 
said that a similar guaranty respecting Central America was reci- 
procal ? Every argument urged by the late secretary of state against 
reciprocity in one, applies with equal force to the other. It may be 
said that Cuba stands at the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico; but it 
can be said with equal truth that Central America is upon the public 
highway to our Pacific possessions. Both stand as gates to this pub- 
lic highway, and every argument urged in relation to the one is 
equally applicable to the other. 

Now I have to quote the late secretary of state and President 
Fillmore against the senator from Delaware on another point. When 
I remarked that the history of this country showed that our growth 
and expansion could not be resisted, and would inevitably break 
through whatever barriers might be erected by the present genera- 
tion to restrain our fiiture progress, the senator from Delaware as- 
sumed the riglit to rebuke me for uttering sentiments implying per- 
fidy and moral turpitude. He desired to know if sentiments of that 
kind were to be tolerated in the American Senate ? Let him hear 
his friend from Massachusetts on that point, in the same docu- 
ment : 

" That a convention such as is proposed would be a transitory arrangement, 
Bore to be swept away by the irresistible tide of afiairs in a new country, is, to 
the apprehension of the President, too obvious to require a labored argument. 
The project rests on principles applicable, if at all, to Europe, Avhere interna- 
tional relations are in their basis of great antiquity, slowly modified for the 
most part in the progress of time and events ; and not applicable to America, 
which, but lately a waste, is filling up with intense rapidity, and adjusting, on 
natural principles, those territorial relations which on the first discovery of the 
continent were in a good degree fortuitous." .... 

" But whatever may be thought of these last suggestions, it would seem im- 
possible for any one who reflects upon the events glanced at in this note to 
mistake the law of American growth and progress, or think it can ultimately 
arrested by a con- ention like that proposed. In the judgment of the Presi- 
dent, it would be as easy to throw a dam from Cape Florida to Cuba, in the 
hope of stopping the flow of the Gulf Stream, as to attempt, by a compact like 
this, to fix the fortunes of Cuba, now and for hereafter, or, as expressed in the 
French text of the convention, ' pour le present comme pour I'avenir,' that ia 
for aU coming time." 

There tlie senator is told that such a stipulation might be applica- 
ble to European politics, but would be unsuited and unfitted to Ame- 
rican affairs ; that he has mistaken entirely the system u/ policy. 


which should be applied to our owa country, that he has predicated 
his action upon those old, antiquated notions which belong to the 
stationary and retrograde movements of the Old World, and iind no 
sympathy in the youthful, uprising aspirations of the American heart. 
I indorse fully the sentiment. I insist that there is a diflference, a 
wide difference, between the system of policy which shouid be pursued 
in America and that which would be applicable to Europe. Europe 
is antiquated, decrepit, tottering on the verge of dissolution. When 
you visit her, the objects which enlist you** nighest admiration are 
the relics of past greatness ; the broken columns erected to departed 
power. It is one vast graveyard, where you find here a tomb indi- 
cating the burial of the arts ; there a monument marking the spot 
where liberty expired; another to the memory of a great man, 
whose place lias never been filled. The choicest products of her 
classic soil consists in relics, which remain as sad memorials of de- 
parted glory and fallen greatness 1 They bring up the memories of 
the dead, but inspire no hope for the living! Here everything is 
fresh, blooming, expanding, and advancing. We wish a wise, prac- 
tical policy adapted to our condition and position. Sir, the states- 
man who would shape the policy of America by European models, 
has failed to perceive the antagonism which exists in the relative 
position, history, institutions — in everything pertaining to the Old 
and the New World. 

The senator from Delaware seems always to have had his back 
turned upon his own country, and his eye intently fixed upon Europe 
as the polar star of all his observations. If it would not be deemed 
an indelicate interposition between the senator from Delaware and 
his friend from Massachusetts (Mr. Everett), I should be inclined to 
say that the criticism of the late secretary of state, although not in- 
tended for the senator from Delaware, is strictly applicable to his 
diplomacy, and fully deserved. I shall not go into the discussion of 
that question, however. I deny the right of the senator from Dela- 
ware to come back at me on that point. I shall certainly turn him 
over to his friend from Massachusetts (Mr. Everett), because he will 
not dare to accuse him of political prejudices and partisan feelings. 
He has said severer things of the senator's diplomacy than I thought 
the rules of the Senate would authorize me to indulge in. The ex- 
President of the United States has sanctioned them, and now I think 
I am at liberty to refer to them, for if it were not within the rules of 
courtesy and diplomacy, they would not be sent here. But, sir, I 
may be permitted to add that the nation has sanctioned them too ; 
for I am not aware that a State paper was ever issued in America 
that received a heartier response in most of its principles, than the 
letter of the late secretary of state to the Oomte de Sartiges, to 
which I have referred. Sir, if he had done nothing else to render 
his administration of the State Department illustrious, his name 
would live in all coming time in that diplomatic letter, as one who 
could appreciate the spirit of the age, and perceive the destiny of the 
nation. No document has ever received such a universal sanction 


of the AmericaQ people as the one to which I have referred, con- 
tleraning and repudiating the diplomacy of the senator from Dela- 
ware in relation to the American continent. 

Mr. President, I have not much more to add. The senator has 
arraigned me also for having attempted to arouse unkind feelings be- 
tween the United States and England. I deny that the arraignment 
is just. 

I have attempted no such thing. I have never attempted to foster 
jealousies or unkind feelings between our own country and any 
other. I have attempted to plant our relations on amicable terms, 
by speaking the truth plainly as we and they know it to exist. The 
remarks that I have made about friendly relations between the two 
countries, were drawn out by his statement that England was known 
to be 30 " friendly" to us. I said to him I did not think the friendly 
relations of England constituted any claim upon our gratitude. I 
have seen no evidence of that friendship. I said frankly I did not 
think that England loved us, and it was useless for us to pretend 
that we loved her. The history of the two countries proves it. The 
daily action of the two countries proves it. England is spending her 
millions to maintain her fortifications all along our coast ; at the Ber- 
mudas, the Bahamas, and at Jamaica, and on every rock and barren 
waste along the American coast. What does she keep them up for ? 
Does she make money out of them ? Why, you all know that they are 
a source of unbounded expenditure to her. Does it extend her com- 
merce ? Does it employ her shipping ? Not at all. Why does she 
keep them ? In order to point her guns at America. 

Well, if she is so friendly to us, and we are so friendly to her, what 
necessity is there for pointing her cannon all the time at us ? And 
if these are evidences of friendship, why do we not reciprocate it by 
sending over a few cannon and planting them on every little island 
and rock near her coast ? If we were to seize upon every military 
and naval position, and expend millions in keeping up fortifications 
all along her coast, would that be any evidence of friendly feeling on 
our part toward England ? I do not see it. 

Again : the moment it was discovered that we were to acquire 
California as a consequence of the Mexican war, England sent her 
armed ships and seized possession of the town of San Juan, and I 
have the authority of the senator from Delaware for saying there is 
reason to believe that the act was done out of hostility to the Amer- 
ican government. Why did she want the town of San Juan ? Sim- 
ply for the reason that by the Mexican treaty our possessions had been 
enlarged upon the Pacific coast, and it evidently became necessary, 
in order to preserve this Union and maintain our commerce, that we 
should have the line of intercommunication between the two oceans 
80 as to connect the Atlantic and Pacific States together ; and there- 
fore, in order to cut otf our right of way, in order to establish a toll 
gate upon our public highway, she seized possession of that point as 
the one from which she could annoy us most. 

The senator will not pretend that he believes tliat act originated 


In friendly feelings toward us on the part of England. 1 have Lis 
authority in his public documents for saying that he believes it ori- 
ginated in motives of jealousy and hostility. The object was, not to 
advance her own interest, not to increase her own commerce, not to 
extend her own power, but to restrain, fetter, and cripple our ener- 
gies and our power. Are these acts evidence of friendship on her 
part toward us, and are we so constituted that we feel grateful for 
them ? Sir, let us not play the hypocrite upon this subject. Let ns 
speak out the naked truth, plainly and boldly. We feel that this 
seizure of every rock and island upon our coast, and converting them 
into garrisoned fortresses, with guns to bear on American commerce 
and American interests, are no evidence of friendship. We feel that 
these attempts to surround and fetter us, and hem us in, are evidences 
of hostility, which it is our duty plainly to see and boldly to resist. 
Sir, the way to establish friendly relations with England is, to let 
her know that we are not so stupid as not to understand her policy, 
nor so pusillanimous as to submit to her aggressions. The moment 
she understands that we mean what we say, and will carry out any 
principle we profess, she will be very careful not to create any point 
of difference between us. It is want of candor and frankness that 
keeps the two nations in conflict with each other. I say, that as long 
as this policy of hemming us in, and fettering us, and trying to re- 
strain our growth and curtail our power continues, we cannot feel 
friendly and kindly toward her; and so long as she persists in that 
policy, we ought not to believe that she feels kindly toward us. If 
we tell her so, she will do one of two things ; either abandon her 
aggressive course, or avow her hostility ; and of all things let us 
know whether she is our fi'iend or our enemy. Therefore, I will 
repeat very frankly, that it is useless to endeavor to conceal the fact 
that there are jealousies between us and England growing out of 
rival interests, and that her policy has for its aim to restrain our 
power rather than increasing her own. Our policy is, to enhance 
our own power and greatness, without attempting to restrain hers. 
Ours is generous, honorable, and justifiable ; hers is illiberal, unkind, 
unjnst, and we ought to tell her so. 

I believe, Mr. President, I have said all I have to say upon this 
question. My object has been simply to reply to the points raised 
by the senator in his speech. I do not wish to travel over the ground 
again. There are many other points in the discussion into which I 
could have gone. There are many other positions that the docu- 
ments which have been lately published would furnish me ample 
material for prolonging the discussion, but I do not wish to occupy 
the time of the Senate. I only wish to show that the real points at 
issue are : first, that the senator preferred a partnership with Eng- 
land to an exclusive privilege to his own country for the great intei*- 
Dceanic canal. Secondly, that he believes in the policy of pledging 
this country never to annex any more territory in all time to come. 
I repudiate that policy. These are the main points between us, and 


the ia&t point, in the course of the discussion, seems to have become 
the material one. He is opposed to all further annexation, and wishes 
to make treaties now to restrain us in all time to come from extend- 
ing our possessions. 

I do not wish to annex any more territory now. But I avow 
freely that I foresee the day when you will be compelled to do it, 
and cannot help it, and wheu treaties cannot prevent the consumma- 
tion of the act. Hence my policy would be to hold the control of 
our own action, give no pledges upon the subject, but bide our time, 
and be at liberty to do whatever our interest, our honor, and duty may 
require when the time for action may come. An old, decrepit nation, 
tottering and ready to fall to pieces, may well seek for pledges and 
guaranties from a youthful, vigorous, growing power, to protect her 
old age. But a young nation, with all her freshness, vigoi*, an<i 
youth, desires no limits fixed to her greatness, no boundaries to her 
future growth. She desires to be left free to exercise her own powers, 
exert her own energies, according to her own sense of duty in all 
coming time. This, sir, is the main issue between us, and I am 
ready to submit it to the Senate and to the country. 

[Senator Butler, in continuation of the debate on the same day, 
having assailed some of the positions maintained by Senator Douglas, 
and pronounced a eulogy upon England and her literature. Senator 
Douglas replied :] 

Mr. Peksidext : In reply to the senator from South Carolina, I 
wish to state to him, without going into the controversy as to which 
is the right policy for the President when a treaty contains objects 
desirable and details obnoxious, that he will find an example in point 
in the case of the Mexican treaty containing provisions which the 
President and Senate both regarded as unconstitutional, yet the 
President sent the treaty here, and pointed out the obnoxious 
parts. The senator and those acting with him modified it, perfected 
it, voted for it, and ratified it in opposition to my vote, and it became 
the law of the land. It is a case precisely in point, and I merely 
mention it, and leave that part of the question. 

Mr. — I think the Mexican treaty was sent as an entirety. 
We amended it no doubt, but it was sent as an entirety by President 
Polk, saying that Mr. Trist had usurped poAver which he did not 
possess. It was exactly one of those instances in which the treaty 
had been made, and he asked the Senate to adopt it, but he sent it 
in as an entire thing. 

Mr. Douglas. — The President sent it in, stating that there were 
certain provisions in it which must be striken out before it could bf 
sanctioned by him. But now to another point : The gentleman com- 
mented upon a remark that I had made, and which also was con- 
tained in the letter of the late secretary of state (Mr. Everett), and 
seems to suppose that we were advocating the doctrine of not ob- 
berving the faith of treaties. That did not put us before tlie country 
in the tl ue position which we have assumed. My position is this 


that we sliould never make a treaty which we cannot carry into faL 
execution ; that good faith requires us not to make a treaty unless 
we intend to execute it, nor make one which we probably canuot be 
able to execute. My argument, therefore, was an argument against 
the making of treaties improperly upon points that were unnecessary. 
and which could not be carried into effect, and not in favor of violat- 
ing any treaties that had been made. It was an argument in favor 
of the sanctity of treaties ; and those who make treaties profusely 
and recklessly, binding us for all time to come without reference to 
the ability in future to execute them, are the ones who ought to 
be arraigned, if anybody should be, for not being faithful to treaty 
stipulations. I wish, therefore, to make this explanation, in order 
that no misapprehension as to the position which I have assumed 
may be entertained in any quarter. 

The senator referred to a remark of mine in regard to the decay 
and decline of European powers, and made it the excuse for a eulo- 
gium upon England as the source from which we have derived every- 
thing that is valuable in science and art ; in literature, law, and politics. 

When I am reminded of the greatness of England, as connected 
with her statesmen and orators, and the illustrious names of Hamp- 
den and Sydney are pointed to as examples, I cannot fail to remem- 
ber — I can never forget — that the same England which gave them 
birth, and should have felt a mother's pride and love in their virtues 
and services, persecuted her noble sons to the dungeon and the 
scaffold, and attempted to brand their names with infamy in all com- 
ing time, for the very causes which have endeared them to- us and 
filled the republican world with their fame ! Nor am I unmindful 
of the debt of gratitude which the present generation owes to the 
brilliant galaxy of great names whose fortune it was to have been 
born and to have suffered in England, and whose labors and re- 
searches in political, legal, and physical science — in literature, poetry, 
and art, have added so much lustre on their native land, i^ovae 
pursued their labors under the protection and patronage of the Eng- 
lish government — others in defiance of her tyranny and vengeance. 
I award all credit and praise to the authors of all the blessings and 
advantages we have inherited from that source. 

I cannot go as far as the senator from South Carolina. I cannot 
recognize England as our mother. If so, she is and ever has been a 
cruel and unnatural mother. I do not find the evidence of her affec- 
tion iu her watchfulness over our infancy, nor in her joy and pride 
at our ever-blooming prosperity and swelling power, since we as- 
sumed an independent position. 

The proposition is not historically true. Our ancestry were not 
all of English origin. They were of Scotch, Irish, German, French, 
and of N-orman descent as well as English. In short, we inherit from 
every branch of the Caucasian race. It has been our aim and policy 
to profit by their example — to reject their errors and follies — and to 
retain, imitate, cultivate, perpetuate all that was valuable and desir- 


ible. So far as any portion of the credit may be due tc England and 
Englishmen — and much of it is — let it be freely awarded and recorded 
in her ancient archives, which seem to have been long since forgotten 
by her, and the memory of which her present policy toward us is 
not well calculated to revive. But, that the senator from South 
Carolina, in view of our present position and of his location in this 
Confederacy, should indulge in glowing and eloquent eulogiums of 
England for the blessings and benefits she has conferred and is still 
lavishing upon us, and urge these considerations in palliation of the 
wrongs she is daily perpetrating, is to me amazing. He speaks in 
terms of delight and gratitude of the copious and refreshing streams 
tvhich English literature and science are pouring into our country 
and difi:using throughout the land. Is he not aware that nearly every 
English book circulated and read in this country contains lurkinc 
and insidious slanders and libels upon the character of our people 
and the institutions and policy of our government ? Does he not know 
that abolitionism, which has so seriously threatened the peace and 
safety of this repuldic, had its origin in England, and has been in- 
corporated into the policy of that government for the purpose of 
operating upon the peculiar institutions of some of the States of this 
confederacy, and thus render the Union itself insecure ? Does she 
not keep her missionaries perambulating this country, deliveririg 
lectures and scattering broadcast incendiary ])ublications, designed 
to incite prejudices, hate, and strife between the difl:erent sections 
of this Union? I had supposed that South Carolina and the other 
slavehulding States of this confederacy had been sufficiently refreshed 
and enlightened by a certain species of English literai'ure, designed 
to stir up treason and insurrection around his own fireside, to have 
excused the senator from oftering up praises and hosannas to our 
English mother ! (Applause in the galleries.) Is not the heart, in- 
tellect, and press of England this moment employed in flooding 
America with this species of " English literature ?" Even the wives 
and daughters of the nobility and the high oflicers of government 
have had the presumption to address the women of America and in 
the name of philanthropy appeal to them to engage in the treasonable 
plot against the institutions and government of their own clioice in 
their native land, while millions are being expended to distribute 
" Uncle Tom's Cabin" throughout the world, with the view of com- 
bining the fanaticism, ignorance, and hatred of all the nations of the 
earth in a common crusade against the peculiar institutions of the 
State and section of this Union represented by the senator from 
South Carolina ; and he unwittingly encourages it, by giving vent to 
nis rapturous joy over these copious and refreshing streams witli 
tvhich England is irrigating the American intellect. (Eenewed -ip- 
plause in the galleries.) 

The PuEsiiJiNG Officer (Me. Rusk in the chair). — There must be 
order in the galleries. If there is not, they will be ordered to b« 
cleared. , 


Mr. Adams. — I desire to ask that the galleries may be cleared i( 
such an outrage occurs again. 

Me. Douglas. — I hope it will be done. It is manifestly improj^er 
to have such proceedings in the galleries. 

The Peesidhstg Officee. — It certainly will be done, if the same 
thing occurs again. 

Me. Butlee. — I have but one word to say in reply to the senator 
from Illinois. When I spoke of our gratitude to England, I did not 
allude to the sentimental kind of literature to which the senator re- 
fers. I thought I indicated the authors of the literature to which I 
referred; and I do not thank the senator for going out of his way, 
and indicating impure streams, as if they had a connection with my 
remark, for there are impure streams iiowing from other sources be- 
sides Great Britain ; and there are impure examples in other parts 
of the world besides Great Britain. When I spoke of it, I spoke in 
emphatic terms of those writers who have poured upon us what the 
senator himself will not deny to be refreshing streams ; what I hope 
he will regard as refreshing to him, and to the intelligence of the 
age. I named authors. Will he dissent from Burke ? Will he dis- 
sent from Chatham ? Will he dissent from Shakspeare ? Will he 
dissent from the literature, and the eloquence, and the example, and 
the tone of feeling of Hampden and Sidney ? Sir, when I spoke in 
the spirit of a man judging the literature of England, I did not ex- 
pect to be diverted by this miserable allusion to " Uncle Tom's 
Cabin." (Laughter.) That may do for an ad captandum, but it is 
not a manly mode of meeting what I said in relation to the literature 
of England. 

Me. Douglas. — I spoke in terms of reverence and respect of the 
monuments and tombstones which were found in England, to the 
great men, to their patriotism, to their legal learning and science 
and poetry, and all that was great and noble and admirable. I spoke 
of them with respect as a matter of the post ; but, sir, I do not think 
it was a legitimate argument to go back two or three centuries past 
to justify English aggressions in the present upon this continent; 
and wben I heard the laudations and eulogiums upon past English 
history in palliation of present English enormity, with commenda- 
tions upon the refreshing streams which she is now pouring into this 
country to enlighten our people, I thought it was right and proper to 
remind the senator himself of some of the present conduct of 
England, which should be borne in mind when he pronounced 
eulogies upon her conduct. I am talking of the present and its 
bearing upon the future. It is that to which I am directing my 
remarks, and not to the past. 

Me. Butlee. — I should like to know how England is to be re- 
sponsible for " Uncle Tom's Cabin." Is England tbe indorser of it? 
I have alluded to the masterly intellects of England, and not to the 
spurious, miserable, sickly sentimentality of the day. If such litera- 
ture as that to which he alludes is to be taken as a standard, Ensjland 


fs not the only place in which it is found. She is no more responsi- 
ble for that miserable cant in relation to this subject than others. 
But with regard to England, in all our commercial relations, in all 
our connection with her as a civilized nation, I presume the honor- 
able senator would not be disposed to postpone her to any other 
any other nation. 

Mr. Douglas. — I would neither postpone nor give her the prefer- 
ence. I have no eulogium to make upon her. I will treat her as our 
duty as a nation requires. 

Mr. Butler. — I have pronounced no other eulogium than history 
yields to her literature, commerce and civilization, and we are bound 
to maintain our relations with England if we intend to be a civil- 
ized nation ourselves. \ made r:-;^ allusion to the kind of literature 
which the senator has brought in debate. We can find this miserable 
sentimentality anywhere, and there are many other things which the 
isenator might as well have brought in, which would have been as 
pertinent to the debate. He had better get up a discussion of the 
Maine liquor law. (Laugliter.) I do not see why he could not. It 
has about as much connection with the question as the other. 

Mr. Douglas. — I have introduced into this discussion none of 
these extraneous topics. I have contented myself with replying 
when others have brought them forwnrd and thrust them upon me. 
My object has been to confine the debate to the points at issue be- 
tween the senator from Delaware and myself, and I have not de- 
parted from that line except when compelled to do so by the remarks 
of others. 

The discussion having been continued on subsequent days 
by Mr. Clayton and Mr. Everett, Mr. Douglas closed the 
debate with the following remarks : 

Mr. President : I do not intend to prolong the discussion ; but I 
think it due to myself and the occasion to make a word of comment 
upon one remark which fell from the eminent senator from Massa- 
chusetts. I understood him to concur in the opinion expressed by 
the senator from Delaware, that his letter in relation to Cuba, which 
proclaimed the principle that no pledge was to be made by this gov- 
ernment in regard to the future condition of that island, was not 
applicable to the Central American states. I cannot consent, even 
for the sake of harmonizing the political relations of those two sena- 
tors, to be placed in a false position. I am not willing, even by their 
concurrence, to be put in a position of having made a misapplication 
of that letter. The main point to which I referred in the letter of 
Mr. Everett to the Comte de Sartiges was the denial of any consti- 
tutional power in this government to make the pledge, that in all 
coming time we would not acquire any territory which, in the courab 


of evrents, might become desirable and necessary. If it was not oom- 
petent under the Constitution to make sucb a stipulation in refei «jnca 
to the island of Cuba, where does he find the constitutional autht rity 
to make it in the Clayton and Bulwer treaty in respect to Cei tral 
America ? If there be a want of constitutional power in the one 
case, does not the same absence of authority exist in the other, <md 
should it not be equally binding upon the consciences of men in aJl 
cases ? Therefore, until the;y remove that constitutional barrier, I 
cannot permit those two senators to place themselves upon a com- 
mon platform, and accuse me of having made a misapplication of 
the letter to the French minister. The senator from Delaware has 
asserted tlie existence of the power, and exercised it in the Clayton 
and Bulwer treaty, while the senator from JJ^aasachusetts has denied 
its existence in the official dispatch to which I have referred. That 
is all I desired to say on that point. 

So far as the senator's remarks relate to the preservation of peace, 
I fully and cordially agree with him. If there is any one line of 
policy more dear to my heart than all others, it is that which shall 
avoid any just cause of war, and preserve peace in all time to come. 
If there be a difference of opinion between us, it is upon the point aa 
io which line of policy wiU best accomplish that object. I believe 
that the true policy is to make no pledges at present which are to 
Mnd our successors in all time to come with reference to a state of 
facts which now does not exist, but then may require action. I hav^e 
not said that I wish to annex any portion of Central America to this 
country. I only protest against the pledge that our successors shall 
not do that which their interest, duty and honor may require when 
ihe time for action comes. With these remarks, I am willing to 
dose the disouesion. 


Delivered in the Senate, January 30, 1854. 

The Senate, as iu Committee of the "Whole, proceeded to the con 
■ideratiou of the bill to organize the Territory of Nebraska. 

Mr. Douglas. — Mr. President, when I proposed, on Tuesday last, 
that the Senate should proceed to the consideration of the bill to or- 
ganize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas, it was my purpose 
only to occupy ten or fifteen minutes in explanation of its provisions. 
I desired to refer to two points ; first to those provisions relating to 
the Indians, and second to those which might be supposed to bear 
npon the question of slavery. 

The committee, in drafting the bill, had in view the great anxiety 
which had been expressed by some members of the Senate to protect 
the rights of the Indians, and to prevent infringements upon them. 
By the provisions of the bill, 1 think we had so clearly succeeded, in 
that respect, as to obviate all possible objection upon that score. The 
bill itse'f provides that it shall not operate upon any of the rights or 
lands oi' the Indians, nor shall they be included within the limits of 
those Territories, until they shall, by treaty with the United States, 
expressly consent to come under the operations of the act, and be 
incorporated within the limits of the Territories. This provision cer- 
tainly is broad enough, clear enough, explicit enough, to protect all 
the rights of the Indians as to their persons and their property. 

Upon the other point, that pertaining to the question of slavery in 
the Territories, it was the intention of the committee to be equally 
explicit. We took th(| principles established by the Compromise acts 
of 1850 as our guide, and intended to make each and every provision 
of the bill accord with those principles. Those measures established 
and rest upon the principles of self-government, that the people 
should be allowed to decide the question of their domestic institu- 
tions for themselves, subject only to such limitations and restrictions 
as are imposed by tiie Constitution of the United States, instead of 
having them determined by an arbitrary or geographical line. 

The original bill, reported by the committee as a substitute for the 
bill introduced by the senator from Iowa (Mr. Dogde), was believed 
to have accomplished this object. The amendment which was sub- 
eequently reported by us was only designed to render that clear and 
specific, which seemed, in the minds of some, to admit of doubt and 
misconstruction. In some parts of the country the original substi- 
tute was deemed and construed to be an annulment or a repeal of 
what has been known as the Missouri Compromise, while in other 
parts it was otherwise construed. As the object of the committee 
was to conform to the principles established by the Compromise 
measures of 1850, and to carry those principles into effect in th# 


Territories, we thought it was better to recite in the bill precisely 
what we understood to have been accomplished by those measures, 
«riz., that the Missouri Compromise, having been superseded by the 
legislation of 1850, has become and ought to be declared inoperative ; 
and hence we propose to leave the question to the people of the 
States and the Territories, subject only to the limitations and provi- 
sions of the Constitution. 

Sir, this is all that I intended to say, if the question had been 
taken up for consideration on Tuesday last; but since that time oc- 
currences have transpired which compel me to go more fully int(» 
the discussion. It will be borne in mind tliat the senator from Ohio 
(Mr. Chase) then objected to the consideration of the bill, and 
asked for its postponement until this day, on the ground that there 
had not been time to understand and consider its provisions ; and 
the senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Sumner) suggested that the 
postponement should be for one week for that purpose. These sug- 
gestions seaming to be reasonable, in the opinions of senators 
around me, I yielded to their request, and consented to the post- 
ponement of the bill until this day. 

Sir, little did I suppose, at tlie time that I granted that act of 
courtesy to those two senators, that they had drafted and published 
to the world a document, over their own signatures, in which they 
arraigned me as having been guilty of a criminal b"etrayal of my 
trust, as having been guilty of an act of bad faith and been engaged 
in an atrocious plot against the cause of free government. Little 
did I suppose that these two senators had been guilty of such con- 
duct when they called upon me to grant that courtesy, to give them 
an opportunity of investigating the substitute reported by the com- 
mittee. I have since discovered that on that very morning the " Na- 
tionel Era," the abolition organ in this city, contained an address, 
signed by certain abolition confederates, to the people, in which the 
bill is grossly misrepresented, in which the action of the committee* 
is grossly perverted, in which our motives are arraigned and our 
characters calumniated. And, sir, what* is more, I find that there 
was a postscript added to the address, published that very morning, 
in which the principal amendment reported by the committee was 
set out, and then coarse epithets applied to me by name. Sir, had 
I known those facts at the time that 1 granted that act of indulgence, 
[ should have responded to the request of those senators in such 
terms as their conduct deserved, so far as the rules of the Senate and 
a respect for my own character would have permitted me to do. In 
order to show the character of this document, of which I shall have 
much to say in the course of my argument, I will read certain pas- 

'' We arraign this bill as a gross violation of a sacred pledge ; as a criminal 
betrayal of precious rights ; as part and parcel of an atrocious plot to exclude 
from a vast unoccupied region emigrants from the Old World, and free laborers 
from our own States and convert it into a dreary region of despotism inhabits a 
by masters and slaves.' 


A SEUA.TOE. — By whom is the address signed ? 

Mr. Douglas. — It is signed " S. P. Chase, senator from Ohio , 
Charles Sumner, senator from Massschnsetts ; J. R. Giddings and 
Edward Wade, representatives from Ohio ; Gerrit Smith, represen- 
tative from New York; Alexander De Witt, representative from 
Massachusetts;" including, as I understand, all the abolition party in 

Then, speaking of the Committee on Territories, these confederateji 
use this language : 

" The pretences, therefore, that the Territory, covered by the positive prohi 
bition of 1820, sustains a similar relation to slavery with that acquired from 
Mexico, covered by no prohibition except that of disputed constitutional or 
Mexican law, and that the compromises of 1850 require the incorporation of 
the pro-slavery clauses of the Utah and New Mexico Bill in the Nebraska Act, 
are mere inventions, designed to cover up from public reprehension meditated baa 
faith.' ^ 

"Mere inventions to cover up bad faith." Again: 

" Servile demagogues may tell you that the Union can be maintained onlj 
by submitting to the demands of slavery." 

Then there is a postscript added, equally offensive to myself, in 
which I am mentioned by name. The address goes on to make an 
appeal to the legislatures of the different States, to public meetings, 
and to ministers of the Gospel in their pulpits, to interpose and 
arrest the vile proceeding which is about to be consummated by 
the senators who are thus denounced. That address, sir, bears date 
Sunday, January 22, 1854. Thus it appears that, on the holy Sab- 
bath, while other senators were engaged in divine worship, these 
abolition confederates were assembled in secret conclave, plotting by 
what means they should deceive the people of the United States, and 
prostrate the character of brother senators. This was done on the 
Sabbath day, and by a set of politicians, to advance their own po 
vJtical and ambitious purposes, in the name of our holy religion. 

But this is not all. It was understood from newspapers that reso- 
lutions were pending before the legislature of Ohio proposing to 
express their opinions upon this subject. It was necessary for these 
confederates to get up some exposition of the question by which they 
might facilitate the passage of the resolutions through that legisla 
ture. Hence you find that, on the same morning that this documeu* 
appears over the names of these confederates in the abolition organ 
of this city, the same document appears in the New York papers— 
certahily in the "Tribune," " Thnes " and "Evening Post" — in 
whicli it is stated, by authority, that it is " signed by the senators 
and a majority of the representatives from the State of Ohio" — a 
statement which I have every reason to believe was utterly false, and 
known to be so at the time that these confederates appended it tj 
the f.ddree8. It was necessary, in order to carry o'lt this ^'ork of 


deception, and to hasten the action of the Ohio legislature, under a 
misapprehension of the real facts, to state that it was signed, not 
only by the abolition confederates, but by the whole Whig repre- 
sentation, and a portion of the Democratic representation in the other 
'""ouse from the State of Ohio. 

Me. Ohase. — Mr. President 

Me. Douglas. — Mr. President, I do not yield the floor. A senator 
who has violated all the rules of courtesy and propriety, who showed 
a consciousness of the character of the act he was doing by conceal- 
ing from me all knowledge of the fact — who came to me with a 
smiling face, and the appearance of friendship, even after that docti- 
ment had been uttered — wh» could get up in the Senate and appeal 
to my courtesy in order to get time to give the document a wider 
circulation before its infamy could be exposed ; such a senator has 
no right to my courtesy upon this floor. 

Mr. Ohase. — Mr. President, the senator mistates the facts 

Me. Douglas. — Mr. President, I decline to yield the floor. 

Me. Ohase. — And I shall make my denial pertinent when the time 

The Peesidext. — Order I 

Me. Douglas. — Sir, if the senator does interpose, in violation of 
the rules of the Senate, a denial of the fact, it may be that I shall be 
able to nail that denial, as I shall the statements in this address 
which are -over his own signature, as a wicked fabrication, and prove 
it by the solemn legislation of this country. 

Me. Ohase. — I call the senator to order. 

The Peesident. — The senator from Illinois is certainly out of 

Me. Douglas. — Then I will only say that I shall confine myself to 
this document, and prove its statements to be false by the legisla- 
tion of the country. Oertainly that is in order. 

Me. Ohase. — You cannot do it. 

Me. Douglas. — The argument of this manifesto is predicated upon 
the assumption that the policy of the fathers of the republic was to 
prohibit slavery in all the territory ceded by the old States to the 
Union, and made United States territory, for the purpose of being 
organized into new States. I take issue upon that statement. Such 
was not the practice in the early history of the government. It is 
true that in the territory northwest of the Ohio River slavery was 
prohibited by the Ordinance of 1787 ; but it is also true that in the 
territory south of the Ohio River, slavery was permitted and pro- 
tected ; and it is also true that in the organization of the Territory 
of Mississippi, in 1798, the provisions of the Ordinance of 1787 were 
applied to it, with the exception of the sixth article, which prohibited 
slavery. Then, sir, you find upon the statute-books under Washing- 
ton and the early Presidents, provisions of law showing that in the 
southwestern territories the right to hold slaves was clearly implied 
pr recognized, wlii^e in the northwest territories it was prohiWted- 


The only conclusion that can be fairly and honestly drawn from that 
legislation is, that it was the policy of the fathers of the republic to 
prescribe a line of demarkation between free Territories and slave- 
holding Territories by a natural or a geographical line, being sure to 
malie that line correspond, as near as miglit be, to the laws of cli- 
mate, of production, and all those other causes that would control 
the institutions and make it either desirable or undesirable to Che 
people inhabiting the respective Territories. 

Sir, I wish you to bear in mind, too, that this geographical line, 
established by the founders of the republic between free Territories 
and slave Territories, extended as far westward as our territory then 
reached ; the object being to avoid all agitation upon the slavery 
question by settling that question forever, as far as our territory 
extended, which was then to the Mississippi River. 

When, in 1803, we acquired from France the territory known as 
I ouisiana, it became necessary to legislate for the protection of the 
inhabitants residing therein. It will be seen, by looking into the 
bill establishing the Territorial government in 1805 for the Territory 
of New Orleans, embracing the same country now known as the 
State of Louisiana, that the Ordinance of 1787 was expressly ex- 
tended to that Territory, except the sixth section, which prohibited 
slavery. That act implied that the Territory of New Orleans was 
to be a slaveholding Territory by making that exception in the law. 
But, sir, when they came to form what was then called the Territory 
of Louisiana, subsequently known as the Territory of Missouri, 
north of the thirty -third parallel, they used different language. They 
did not extend to it any of the provisions of the Ordinance of 1787. 
They first provided that it should be governed by laws made by the 
governor and the judges, and, when in 1812 Congress gave to that 
Territory, under the name of the Territory of Missouri, a Territorial 
government, the people were allowed to do as they pleased upon the 
subject of slavery, subject only to the limitations of the Constitution 
of the United States. Now what is the inference from that legisla- 
tion ? That slavery was, by implication, recognized soutli of the 
thirty-third parallel ; and north of that the people were left to exer- 
cise their own judgment and do as they pleased upon the subject, 
without any implication for or against the existence of the institu 

This continued to be the condition of the country in the Missouri 
Territory up to 1820, when the celebrated act which is now called , 
the Missouri Compromise was passed. Slavery did not exist in, 
nor was it excluded from, the country now known as Nebraska. There 
was no code of laws upon the subject of slavery either way : First, 
for the reason that slavery had never been introduced into Louisiana 
and established by positive enactment. It had grown up there by a 
sort of common law, and been supported and protected. When a 
common law grows up, when an institution becomes establishel 
under a usage, it carries it so far as that usage actually goes, and n« 


further. If it had been established by direct enactment, it might 
have carried it so far as the political jurisdiction extended ; but, be 
that as it may, by the act of 1813, creating the Territory of Missouri, 
that Territory was allowed to legislate upon the subject of slavery 
as it saw proper, subject only to the limitations which I have stated ; 
and the country not inhabited or thrown open to settlement was set 
apart as Indian country, and rendered subject to Indian laws. 
Hence, the local legislation of the State of Mifsouri did not reach 
into that Indian country, but was excluded from it by the Indian 
code and Indian laws. The municipal regulations of Missouri could 
not go there until the Indian title had bi?en extinguished, and the 
country thrown open to settlement. Such being the case, the only 
legislation in existence in ITebraska Territory at the time that the 
Missouri act passed, namely, the 6th of March, 182U, was a provision, 
in effect, that the people should be allowed to do as they pleased 
upon the subject of slavery. 

The Territory of Missouri having been left in that legal condition, 
positive opposition was made to the bill to organize a State govern- 
ment, with a view to its admission into the Union ; and a senator 
from my State, Mr. Jesse B. Thomas, introduced an amendment, 
known as the eighth section of the bill, in which it was provided that 
slavery should be prohibited north of 36° 30' north latitude, in all the 
country which we had acquired from France. "What was the object 
•of the enactment of that eighth section ? "Was it not to go back to 
the original policy of prescribing boundaries to the limitation of free 
institutions, and of slave institutions, by a geographical line, in order 
to avoid all controversy in Congress upon the subject? Hence they 
extended that geographical line tlirough all the territory purchased 
from France, which was as far as our possessions then reached. It 
was not simply to settle the question on that piece of country, but it 
was to carry out a great principle, by extending that dividing line 
as far west as our territory went, and running it onward on each 
new acquisition of territory. True, the express enactment of the 
eighth section of the Missouri act, now called the Missouri Compro- 
mise, only covered the territory acquired from France ; but the 
principles of the act, the objects of its adoption, the reasons in its 
support, required that it should be extended indefinitely westward, 
so far as our territory might go, whenever new purchases should be 

Thus stood the question up to 1845, when the joint resolution for 
the annexation of Texas passed. There was inserted in that joint re- 
solution a provision, suggested in the first instance and brought be- 
fore the House of Representatives by myself, extending the Missouri 
Compromise line indefinitely westward through the Territory of 
Texas. Why did I bring forward that proposition ? "Why did the 
Congress of the "dnited States adopt it? Not because it was of the 
least practical importance, so far as tlie question of slivery within 
the limits of Texas was concerned ; for no man ever dreamed that it 


had any practical effect there. Then why was it broiiglit forward? 
It was for the purpose of preserving the principle, in order that il 
might be extended still further westward, even to the Pacific Ocean, 
whenever we should acquire the country that far. I will here read 
that clause. It is the third article, second section, and is in these 
words : 

" New States, of convenient size, not exceeding four in number, in addition 
to said State of Texas having suiiicient population, may hereafter, by the con- 
sent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled 
to admission under the provisions of the federal Constitution. And such States 
as may be formed out of that portion of said Territory lying south of thirty-six 
degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly known as the Missouri Com- 
promise line, shall be admitted into the Union, with or without slavery, as the 
people of each State asking admission may desire. And, in such State or 
States as shall be formed out of said Territory north of said Missouri Compro- 
mise line, slavery or involuntary servitude (except for crime) shall be pro- 

It will be seen that it contains a very remarkable provision, which 
is, that when States lying north of 36° 30' apply for admission, 
slavery shall be prohibited in their constitutions. I presume 'no one 
pretends that Congress could have power thus to fetter a State ap- 
plying for admission into this Union ; but it was necessary to pre- 
serve the principle of the Missouri Compromise line, in order that it 
might afterward be extended ; and it was supposed that while Con- 
gre=!s had no power to impose any such limitatioij. yet, as that was a 
compact with the State of Texas, that State could consent for her- 
self that, when any portion of her own Territory, subject to her own 
jurisdiction and control, applied for admission, her constitution 
should be in a particular form; but that provision would not be 
binding on the new State one day after it was admitted into the 
Union. The other provision was that such States as should lie south 
of 36° 30' should come into the Union with or without slavery, as 
each should decide in its constitution. Then, by that act, the 
Missouri Compromise was extended indefinitely westward, so far as 
the State of Texas went, that is, to the Rio del Norte ; for our Gov- 
ernment at that time recognized the Rio del Norte as its boundary. 
We recognized, in many ways, and among them by even paying 
Texas for it ten millions of dollars, in order that it might be in- 
cluded in and form a portion of the 'territory of New Mexico. 

Then, sir, in 1848, we acquired from Mexico the country between 
the Rio del Norte and the Pacific Ocean. Immediately after that ac- 
quisition, the Senate, on my own motion, voted into a bill a yirovi- 
sion to extend the Missouri Compromise indefinitely westward to the 
Pacific Ocean, in the same sense and with the same understanding 
with which it was originally adopted. Tliat provision passed this 
body by a decided majority, I tliink by ten at least, aud went to the 
Eouse of Representatives, and was defeated there by nortliern votes. 

Now, si", let us pause and consider for a moment. The first time 


that the principles of the Missouri Compromise were ever ahandciiert, 
the first time they were ever rejected by Congress, was by the defeat 
of that provision in the House of Representatives in 1848. By 
whom was that defeat effected ? By northern votes with Freesoil 
proclivities. It was the defeat of that Missouri Compromise that 
reopened the slavery agitation with all its fury. It was the defeat 
of that Missouri Compromise that created the tremendous struggle 
of 1850. It was the defeat of that Missouri Compromise that 
created the necessity for making a new compromise in 1850. Had 
we been faithful to the principles of the Missouri Compromise in 
1848, this question would not have arisen. Who was it that was 
faithless ? I undertake to say it was the very men who now insist 
that the Missouri Compromise was a solemn compact, and should 
never be violated or departed from. Every man who is now assail- 
ing the principle of the bill under consideration, so far as I am ad- 
vised, was opposed to the Missouri Compromise in 1848. The very 
men who now arraign me for a departure from the Missouri Com- 
promise are the men who successfully violated it, repudiated it, and 
caused it to be superseded by the Compromise measures of 1850. 
Sir, it is with rather bad grace that the men who proved faithless 
themselves, should charge upon me and others, who were ever faith- 
ful, the responsibilities and consequences of their own treachery. 

Then, sir, as I before remarked, the defeat of the Missouri Com- 
promise in 1848 having created the necessity for the establishment 
of a new one in 1850, let us see what that compromise was. 

The leading feature of the Compromise of 1850 was Congressional 
non-intervention as to slavery in the Territories ; that the people of 
the Territories, and of all the States, were to be allowed to do as 
they pleased upon the subject of slavery, subject only to the provi- 
sions of the Constitution of the United States, 

That, sir, was the leading feature of the Compromise measures of 
1850. Those measures, therefore, abandoned the idea of a geogra- 
phical line as the boundary between free States and slave States ; 
abandoned it because compelled to do it from an inability to main- 
tain it ; and in lieu of that, substituted a great principle of self- 
government, which would allow the people to do as they thought 
proper. Now the question is, when that new compromise, resting 
upon that great fundamental principle of freedom, was established, 
was it not an abandonment of. the old one — the geographical line ? 
"Was it not a supersedure of the old one within the very language of 
the substitute for the bill whicli is now under consideration ? I say 
it did supersede it, because it applied its provisions as well to the 
Qorth as to the south of 36° 30'. It established a. principle which 
was equally applicable to the country north as well as south of the 
parallel of 36° 30' — a principle of universal application. The 
authors of this abolition manifesto attempted to refute this pre- 
sumption, and maintain that the Compromise of 1850 did not super- 
sede that of 1820, by quoting the proviso to the first section of tin 


act to establish the Texan boundary, and create the Territory of 
New Mexico. That proviso was added, by way of amendment, on 
motion of Mr. Mason, of Virginia. 

I repeat, tliat in order to rebut the presumption, as I before 
stated, that the Missouri Compromise was abandoned and super- 
seded by tlie principles of the Compromise of 1850, these confede- 
rates cite the following amendment, oifered to the bill to establish 
the boundary of Texas and create the Territory of New Mexico in 

"Prow/ded, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to impair or 
qualify anything contained in the third article of the second section of tht' 
joint resolution for annexing Texas to the United States, approved March 1, 
1845, either as regards the number of States that may hereafter be formed out 
of the States of Texas or otherwise." 

After quoting thi? proviso, they make the following statement, 
and attempt to gain credit for its truth by suppressing material facta 
which appear upon the face of the same statute, and which, if pro 
duced, would conclusively disprove the statement : 

" It is solemnly declared in the very compromise acts, ^ that nothing herein 
contained shall be construed to impair or qualify the prohibition of slavery north 
of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes ;' and yet, in the face of this declaration., 
that sacred prohibition is said to be overthrown. Can presumption further 

I will now proceed to show that presumption could not go fur- 
ther than is exhibited in this declaration. 

They suppress the following material facts, which, if produced, 
would have disproved their statement. They first suppress the fact 
that the same section of the act cuts oft' from Texas, and cedes to 
the United States all that part of Texas which lies north of 36^ 30'. 
They then suppress tlie further fact that the same section of the 
law cuts oft" from Texas a large tract of country on the west, more 
than three degrees of longitude, and adds it to the territory of the 
United States. They then suppress the further fact that this terri- 
tory thus cat oft" from Texas, and to which the Missouri Compromise 
line applied, was incorporated into the Territory of New Mexico. 
And then what was done? It was incorporated into that Territory 
with this clause : 

" That, when admitted as a State, the said Territory, or any portion of th« 
same, shall be received into the Union with or without slavery, as their son- 
Btitution may prescribe at the time of its adoption." 

Yes, sir, the very bill and section from which they quote, cuts off 
all that part of Texas wh ch was to be free by the Missouri Compro 
mise, together with some on the south side of the line, incorporates 
it into the Territory of New Mexico, and then says that the Tern- 


torj, and every portion of the same, shall come into tte Union witn 
or without slavery, as it sees proper. 

What else does it do? The sixth section of the same act provides 
that the legislative power and authority of this said Territory of 
New Mexico shall extend to all rightful subjects of leg;islation con 
sistent with the Constitution of the United States and the provisions 
of the act, not excepting slavery. Thus the New Mexican Bill, 
from which they make that quotation, contains the provision that 
New Mexico, including that part of Texas which was cut off, should 
come into the Union with or without slavery, as it saw proper ; and 
in the meantime that the Territorial legislature should have all tlie 
authority over the subject of slavery that they had over any other 
subject, restricted only by the limitation of the Constitution of the 
United States and the provisions of the act. Now, I ask those 
senators, do not those provisions repeal the Missouri Compromise, 
so far as it applied to the country cut oif from Texas ? Do they not 
annul it ? Do they not supersede it ? If they do, then the address 
which has been put forth to the world by these confederates is au 
atrocious falsehood. If they do not, then what do they mean when 
they charge me with having, in the substitute first 5;eported from 
the committee, repealed it, with having annulled it, with having 
violated it, when I only copied those precise words ? I copied the 
precise words into my bill, as reported from tho committee, which 
were contained in the New Mexico Bill. They say ray bill annuls 
the Missouri Compromise. If it does, it had already been done be- 
fore by the act of 1850 ; for these words were copied from the act 
of 1850. • 

Mr. Wade. — Why did you do it over again ? 

Mr. Douglas. — I will come to that point presently. I am now 
dealing with the trutli and veracity of a combination of men who 
have assembled in secret caucus upon the Sabbath day, to arraign 
my conduct and belie my motives. I say, therefore, tliat their 
manifesto is a slander either way ; for it says that the Missouri 
Compromise was not superseded by the measures of 1850, and then 
it says that the same words in my ])ill do repeal and annul it. 
They must be adjudged guilty of one falsehood in order to sustain 
the other assertion. 

Now, sir, 1 propose to go a little further, and show what was the 
real meaning of tlie amendment of the senator from Virginia, out ' 
of Avhich these gentlemen have manufactured so much capital in 
the newspaper press, and have succeeded by that misrepresentation 
in procuring an expression of opinion from the State of Rhode 
Island in opposition to this bill. 1 will state what its meaning is. 

Did it mean that the States north of 36° 30' should have a clause 
in their constitutions prohibiting slavery ? I have shown that it 
did not mean that, because the same act says that they might come 
in with slavery, if they saw proper. I say it could not mean that 
for another reason : The same section containing that proviso oa* 


off all that part of Texas north of 36° 30', and hence there was 
nothing for it to operate upon. It did not, therefore, relate to the 
country cut off. What did it relate to ? Why, it meant simply 
this: By the joint resolution of 1845, Texas was annexed, with the 
right to form four additional States out of her territory ; and such 
States as were south of 86° 30' were to come in with or without 
slavery, as they saw proper ; and in such State or States as were 
Qorth of that line, slavery should be prohibited. When we had cut 
off all north of 36° 30', and thus circumscribed the boundary and 
diminished the territory of Texas, the question arose, how many 
States will Texas be entitled to under this circumscribed boundary. 
Certainly not four, it will be argaed. Why ? Because the original 
resolution of annexation provided that one of the States, if not 
more, should be north of 36° 30'. It would leave it, then, doubtful 
whether Texas was entitled to two or three additional States under 
the circumscribed boundary. 

In order to put that matter to rest, in order to make a final set- 
tlement, in order to have it explicitly understood what was the 
meaning of Congress, the senator from Virginia offered the amend- 
ment that nothing therein contained should impair that provision, 
either as to the number of States or otherwise, that is, that Texas 
should be entitled to the same number of States with her reduced 
boundaries as she would have been entitled to under her larger 
boundaries ; and those States shall come in with or without slavery, 
as they might prefer, being all south of 86° 30', and nothing to im- 
pair that right shall be inferred from the passage of the act. Such, 
sir, was the meaning of that proposition. Any other construction 
of it would stultify the very character and purpose of its mover, 
the senator from Virginia. Such, then, was not only the intent of 
the mover, but such is the legal effect of the law ; and I say that 
no man, after reading the other sections of the bill, those to which 
I have referred, can doubt that such was both the intent and the 
legal effect of that law. 

Then I submit to the Senate if I have not convicted this mani- 
festo, issued by the abolition confederates, of being a gross falsifica- 
tion of the laws of the land, and by that falsification that an 
erroneous and injurious impression has been created upon the pub- 
lic mind. I am sorry to be compelled to indulge in language of 
severity ; but there is no other language that is. adequate to express 
the indignation with which I see this attempt, not only to mislead 
the public, but to malign my character by deliberate falsification of 
the public statutes and the public records. 

In order to give greater plausibility to the falsification of the 
terms of the Compromise measures of 1850, the confederates also 
declare in their manifesto that they (the Territorial bills for the or- 
ganization of Utah and New Mexico) "applied to the territory 
acquired from Mexico, and to that only. They were intended as a 
faettlement of the controversy growing out of that acquisition, and 


of tliat controversy only. They mufit stand or ;fall by their uwu 

I submit to the Senate if there is an intelligent man in America 
who does not know that that declaration is falsified by the statute 
from which they quoted. They say that the provisions of that bil. 
was confined to the territory acquired from Mexico, when the very 
section of the law from which they quoted that proviso did pur 
chase a part of that very territory from the State of Texas. And 
the next section of the law included that territory in the Territory 
of New Mexico. It took a small portion aldo of the old Louisiana 
purchase, and added that to the Territory of IsTew Mexico, and made 
up the rest out of the Mexican acquisitions. Then, sir, your statutes 
show, when applied to the map of the country, that the Territory 
of New Mexico was composed of country acquired from Mexico, 
and also of territory acquired from Texas, and of territory acquired 
from France ; and yet in defiance of that statute, and in falsification 
of its terms, we are told, in order to deceive the people, that the 
bills were confined to the purchase made from Mexico alone ; and 
in order to give it greater solemnity, they repeat it twice, fearing 
that it would not be believed the first time. What is more, the 
Territory of Utah was not confined to the country acquired from 
Mexico. That Territory, as is well known to every man who under- 
stands the geography of the country, includes a large tract of rich 
and fertile country, acquired from France in 1803, and to which the 
eighth section of the Missouri Act applied in 1820. If these con- 
federates do not know to what country 1 allude, I only reply that 
they should have known before they uttered the falsehood, and im- 
puted a crime to me. 

But I will tell you to what country I allude. By the treaty of 
1819, by which we acquired Florida and a fixed boundary between 
the United States and Spain, the boundary was made of the Arkan- 
sas River to its source, and then the line ran due north of the source 
of the Arkansas to the 42d parallel, then along on the 42d parallel 
to the Pacific Ocean. That line, due north from the head of the 
Arkansas, leaves the whole middle part, described in such glowing 
terms by Colonel Fremont, to the east of the line, and hence a part 
of the Louisiana purchase. Yet, inasmuch as that middle part is 
drained by the waters flowing into the Colorado, when we formed 
the territorial limits of Utali, instead of I'unning that air-line, we 
ran along the ridge of the mountains, and cut off that part from 
Nebraska, or from the Louisiana purchase, and included it withiii 
the limits of the Territory of Utah. 

Why did we do it ? Because we sought for a natural and conve- 
nient boundary, and it was deemed better to take the mountains as 
a boundary, than by an air-line to cut the valleys on one side of the 
mountains, and annex them to the country on the other side. And 
why did we take these natural boundaries, setting at defiance tha 
old boundaries ? The simple reason was that so long as m e acted 


apon the principle of settling the slave question by a geignphical 
line, so long we observed those boundaries strictly and rigidly ; but 
when that was abandoned, in consequence of the action of free- 
Boilers and abolitionists — when it was superseded by the Compromise 
measures of 1850, which rested upon a great universal principle — 
there was no necessity for keeping in view the old and unnatural 
boundary. For that reason, in making the new Territories, -we 
formed natural boundaries, irrespective of the source whence our 
title was derived. In writing these bills I paid no attention to the 
fact whether the title was acquired from Louisiana, from France, or 
from Mexico ; for what difference did it make ? The principle which 
we had established in the bill would apply equally well to either. 

In fixing those boundaries, I paid no attention to the fact whether 
they included old territory or new territory — whether the country 
was ODvered by the Missouri Compromise or not. Why? Because 
the principles established in the bills superseded the Missouri Com- 
promise. For that reason we disregarded the old boundaries ; dis- 
regarded the territory to which it applied, and disregarded the 
source from whence the title was derived. I say, therefore, that a 
close examination of those acts clearly establishes the fact that it 
was the intent, as well as the legal effect of the Compromise mea- 
sures of 1850, to supersede the Missouri Compromise, and all geo- 
graphical and territorial lines. 

Sir, in order to avoid any misconstruction, I will state more 
distinctly what my precise idea is upon this point. So far as the 
Utah and New Mexico bills included the territory which had been 
subject to the Missouri Compromise provision, to that extent they 
absolutely annulled the Missouri Compromise. As to the unor- 
ganized territory not covered by those bills, it was superseded by 
the principles of the Compromise of 1850. We all know that the 
object of the Compromise measures of 1850 was to establish certain 
great principles, which would avoid the slavery agitation in all time 
to come. Was it our object simply to provide for a temporary evil? 
Was it our object to heal over an old sore, and leave it to break out 
again? Was it our object to adopt a mere miserable expedient to 
apply to that territory, and to that alone, and leave ourselves 
entirely at sea, without compass, when new territory was acquired, 
or new territorial organizations were to be made? 

Was that the object for which the eminent and venerable senator 
from Kentucky (Mr. Clay) came here and sacrificed even his last 
energies upon the altar of his country? Was that the object for 
which Webster, Clay, Cass, and all the patriots of that day, strug- 
gled so long and so strenuously ? Was it merely the application of 
a temporary expedient, in agreeing to stand by past and dead legis- 
lation, that the Baltimore platform pledged us to sustain the Com- 
promise of 1850 ? Was it the understanding of the Whig party, 
when they adopted the Compromise measures of 1850 as an article 
of political l^iith, that they were only agreeing to that which wa* 


past, and had no reference to the future ? If that was their mean- 
ing ; if that was tlieir object, they pahned off an atrocious fraud 
upon the American people. Was it the meaning of the Democratic 
party, when we pledged ourselves to stand by the Compromise of 
1850, that we spoke only of the past, and had no reference to the 
future ? If so, it was a gross deception. When we pledged our 
President to stand by the Compromise measures, did we not under- 
stand that we pledged him as to his future action? Was it as to his 
past conduct? If it had been in relation to past conduct only, the 
pledge would have been untrue as to a very large portion of the 
Democratic party. Men went into that convention who had been 
opposed to the Compromise measures — men who abhorred those 
measures when they were pending — men who never would have 
voted affirmatively on them. But, inasmuch as those measures had 
been passed and the country had acquiesced in them, and it was im- 
portant to preserve the principle in order to avoid agitation in 
the future, these men said, we waive our past objections, and. we 
will stand by you and with you in carrying out these principles in 
the future. 

Such I understand to be the meaning of the two great parties at 
Baltimore. Such I understand to have been the effect of their 
pledges. If they did not mean this, they meant merely to adopt 
resolutions which were never to be carried out, and which were 
designed to mislead and deceive the people for the mere purpose of 
carrying an election. 

I hold, then, that, as to the territory covered by the Utah and 
New Mexico bills, there was an express annulment of the Missouri 
Compromise ; and as to all tho other unorganized territories, it was 
superseded by the principles of that legislation, and we are bound to 
apply those principles to the organization of all new territories, to 
all which we now own, or which we may hereafter acquire. If this 
construction be given, it makes that compromise a final adjustment. 
No other construction can possibly impart finality to it. By anj 
other construction, the question is to be reopened the moment you 
ratify a new treaty acquiring an inch of country from Mexico. By 
any other construction, you reopen the issue every time you make 
a new Territorial government. But, sir, if you treat tlie Compro- 
mise measures of 1850 in the light of great principles, sufficient to 
remedy temporary evils, at the same time that they prescribe rules 
of action applicable everywhere in all time to come, then you avoid 
the agitation forever, if you observe good faith to the provisions 
of these enactments, and the principles established by them. 

Mr. President, I repeat that, so far as the question of slavery is 
concerned, there is nothing in the bill under consideration which 
does not carry out the principle of the Compromise measures of 
1850, by leaving the people to do as they please, subject only to the 
provisions of the Constitution of the United States. If that princi- 
ple is wrong, the bill' is wrong. If that principle is right, the bill is 


right. Jt is unnecessary to quiblle about phraseology or words; it 
is hot the mere words, the mere phraseology, that our constituents 
wish to judge by. They wish to know the legal effect of our legis- 

The legal effect of this bill, if it be passed as reported by the 
Committee on Territories, is neither to legislate slavery into these 
Territories nor out of them, but to leave the people to do as they 
please, under the provisions and subject to the limitations of the 
Constitution of the United States. Why should not this principle 
prevail? Why should any man, North or South, object to it? I 
will especially address the argument to my own section of country, 
and ask why should any northern man object to this principle? If 
you will review the history of the slavery question in the United 
States, you will see that all the great results in behalf of free insti- 
tutions which have been worked out, have been accomplished by 
the operation of this principle, and by it alone. 

When these States were colonies of Great Britain, every one of 
tliem was a slaveholding province. When the Constitution of the 
United States was formed, twelve out of the thirteen were slave- 
holding States. Since that time six of those States have become 
free. How has this been effected ? Was it by virtue of abolition 
agitation in Congress ? Was it in obedience to the dictates of the 
Federal Government ? Not at all ; but they have become free States 
under the silent but sure and irresistible working of that great 
principle of self-government which teaches every people to do that 
which the interests of themselves and their posterity morally and 
pecuniarily may require. 

Under the operation of this principle, New Hampshire became 
free, while South Carolina continued to hold slaves ; Coi^necticut 
abolished slavery, while Georgia held on to it ; Rhode Island aban- 
doned the institution, while Maryland preserved it ; New York, New 
Jersey and Pennsylvania abolished slavery, while Virginia, North 
Carolina, and Kentucky retained it. Did they do it at your bid- 
ding? Did they do it at the dictation of the Federal Government? 
Did they do it in obedience to any of your Wilmot Provisoes or Ordi- 
nances of '87 ? Not at all ; they did it by virtue of their rights as 
freemen under the Constitution of the United States, to establish and 
abolish such institutions as they thought their own good required. 

Let me ask you, where have you succeeded in excluding slavery 
by an act of Congress from one inch of the American soil? You 
may tell me that you did it in the Northwest Territory by the Ordi- 
nance of 1787. 1 will show you by the history of the country that 
you did not accomplish any such thing. You prohibited slavery 
tJiere by law, but you did not exclude it in fact. Illinois was a part 
of the Northwest Territory. With the exception of a few French 
and white settlements, it was a vast wilderness, filled with hostile 
savages, when the Ordinance of 1787 was adopted. Yet, sir, whe-j 
Illinois was organized into a Territorial government, it estab^ishoc* 


and protected slavery, and maintained it in spite of your Ordinance 
and in defiance of its express prohibition. It is a curious fact, that, 
so long as Congress said the Territory of Illinois should not have 
slavery, she actually had it ; and on the very day when you with- 
drew your Congressional prohibition the people of Illinois, of their 
own free will and accord, provided for a system of emancipation. 

Thus you did not succeed in Illinois Territory with your Ordinance 
or your Wilmot Proviso, be>'*ause the people there regarded it as an in- 
vasion of their rights. They regarded it as a usurpation on the part of 
the Federal Government. They regarded it as violative of the great 
principles of self-government, and they determined that they would 
never submit even to have freedom so long as you forced it upon them. 

Nor must it be said that slavery was abolished in the constitution 
of Illinois in order to be admitted iuto the Union as a State, in com- 
pliance with the Ordinance of 1787 ; for they did no such thing. In 
the Constitution with which the people of Illinois were admitted into 
Union, they absolutely violated, disregarded, a^id repudiated your 
Ordinance. The Ordinance said that slavery ibould be forever pro- 
hibited in that country. The constitution with which you received 
them into the Union as a State provided that all slaves then in the 
State should remain slaves for life, and that all persons born of slave 
parents after a certain day should be free at a certain age, and that 
ail persons born in the State after a certain other day, should be free 
from the time of their birth. Thus their State constitution, as well 
as their Territorial legislation, repudiated your Ordinance. Illinois, 
therefore, is a case in point to prove that whenever you have 
attempted to dictate institutions to any part of the United States, 
you have failed. The same is true, though not to the same extent, 
with reference to the Territory of Indiana, where there were many 
slaves during the time of its Territcaal existence, and I believe also 
there were a few in the Territory of Ohio. 

But, sir, these abolition confederates, in their manifesto, have also 
referred to the wonderful results of their policy in the States of Iowa 
and the Territory of Minnesota. Here, again, they happen to be in 
fault as to the laws of the land. The act to organize the Territory 
of Iowa did not prohibit slavery, but the people of Iowa were 
allowed to do as they pleased under the Territorial government ; for 
the sixth section of that act provided that the legislative authority 
should extend to all rightful subjects of legislation except as to 
the disposition of the public lands, and taxes in certain cases, but 
not excepting slavery. It may, however, be said by some tha* 
slavery was prohibited in Iowa by virtue of that clause in the Iowa 
act which declared the laws of Wisconsin to be in force therein, in 
asmuch as the Ordinance of 1787 was one of the laws of Wisconsin. 
If, however, they say this, they defeat their object, because the very 
clause which transfers the laws of Wisconsin to Iowa, and makes 
them of force therein, also provides that those laws are subject to be 
nJtered, modified, or repealed by the Territorial legislature of lows*. 


fo-rta, therefore, was left to do as she pleased. Iowa, when she 
came to form a constitution and State government, preparatory to 
admission into the Union, considered the subject of free and siave 
institutions calmly, dispassionately, without any restraint or dicta- 
tion, and determined that it would be to the interest of her people in 
their climate, and with their productions, to prohibit slavery ; and 
hence Iowa became a free State by virtue of this great principle of 
allowing the people to do as they please, and not in obedience to any 
federal command. 

The abolitionists are also in the habit of referring to Oregon as 
another instance of the triumph of their abolition policy. There 
again they have overlooked or misrepresented the history of the 
country. Sir, it is well known, or if it is not, it ought to be, that for 
about twelve years you forgot to give Oregon any government or 
any protection ; and during that period the inhabitants of that 
country established a government of their own, and by virtue of 
their own laws, passed by their own representatives before you ex- 
tended your jurisdiction over them, prohibited slavery by a unani- 
mous vote. Slavery was prohibited there by the action of the people 
themselves, and not by virtue of any legislation of Congress. 

It is true that, in the midst of the tornado which swept over the 
country in 1648. 1S49 and 1850, a provision was forced into the Ore- 
gon bill prohibiting slavery in that Territory; but that only goes to 
show that the object of those who pressed it was not so much to 
establish free institutions as to gain a political advantage by giving 
an ascendency to their peculiar doctrines in the laws of the land; 
for slavery having been already prohibited there, and no man pro- 
posing to establish it, what was the necessity for insulting the people 
of Oregon by saying in your law that they should not do that which 
they had unanimously* said they did aot wish to do ? That was the 
only effect of your legislation so far as the Territory of Oregon was 

How was it in regard to California? Every one of these abolition 
confederates, who have thus arraigned me and the Committee on 
Territories before the country, and have misrepresented our position, 
predicted that unless Congress interposed by law, and prohibited 
slavery in California, it would inevitably become a slaveholding 
State. Congress did not interfere; Congress did not prohibit 
slavery. There was no enactment upon the subject ; but the people 
formed a State constitution, and therein prohibited slavery. 

Mb. Wellep.. — The vote was unanimous in the convention of Cali- 
fornia for prohibition. 

Me. Douglas. — So it was in regard to Utah and iS'ew Mexico. In 
1850, we who resisted any attempt to force institutions upon the 
peofjle of those Territories inconsistent with their wishes and their 
right to decide for themselves, were denounced as slavery propagan- 
dists. Every one of us who was in favor of the Compromise mea- 
8'ires of 1850 was arraigned for having advocated a pr\Acii)la Di-npof» 


ing to introduce slavery into those Territories, and the people were 
told, and made to believe, that, unless we prohibited it by act of 
Congress, slavery would necessarily and inevitably be introduced 
into these Territories. 

Well, sir, we did establish the Territorial govtrnments of Utah 
and ISTew Mexico without any prohibition. We gave to these abo- 
litionists a full opportunity of proving whether their predictions 
would prove true or false. Years have rolled round, and the result 
is before us. The people there have not passed any law recognizing, 
or establishing, or introducing, or protecting slavery in the Terri- 

I know of but one Territory of the United States where slavery 
does exist, and that one is where you have prohibited it by law ; 
and it is this very Nebraska country. In defiance of the eighth sec- 
tion of the act of 1820, in defiance of Congressional dictation, there 
have been, not many, but a few slaves introduced. I heard a minis- 
ter of the Gospel the other day conversing with a member of the 
Committee on Territories upon this subject. This preacher was 
from that country, and a member put this question to him : " Have 
you any negroes out there ?" He said there were a few held by the 
Indians. 1 asked him if there were not some held by white men ? 
He said there were a few under peculiar circumstances, and he gave 
an instance. An abolition missionary, a very good man, had gone 
there from Boston, and he took his wife with him. He got out into 
the country but could not get any help; hence he, being a kind- 
hearted man, went down to Missouri and gave $1,000 for a negro, 
and took him up there as "help." (Laughter.) So, under peculiar 
circumstances, when these freesoil and abolition preachers and mis- 
sionaries go into the country, they can buy a negro for their own 
use, but they do not like to allow any one else*to do the same thing. 
(Renewed laughter.) I suppose the fact of the matter is simply this: 
there the people can get no servants — no "help," as they are called 
in the section of country were I was born — and from the necessity of 
the case, they must do the best they can, and for this reason a few 
slaves have been taken there. I have no doubt that whether you 
organize the Territory of Nebraska or not, this will continue for 
some little time to come. It certainly does exist, and it will in- 
crease as long as the Missouri Compromise applies to the Territory ; 
and I suppose it will continue for a little while during their Terri- 
torial condition, whether a prohibition is iniposed or not. But 
when settlers rush in— when labor becomes plenty, and therefore 
cheap, in that climate, with its productions — it is worse than folly 
to think of its bemg a slaveholding country, i do not believe there 
is a man m Congi-ess who thinks it could be permanently a slave- 
holding country. I have no idea that it could. All I have to saj 
on that subject is, that, when you create them into a Territory, you 
thereby acknowledge that they ought to be considered a distinct 
political organization. And when you give them in addition a iegis- 


iature, /o»i 'iereby confess that they are competent to exercise ti.e 
powers of 'egislaticn. If they wish slavery, they have a rii^lit to it. 
If they do not want it, they will not have it, and you shoukl not 
attempt to force it upon thtm. 

I do not like, I never did like, the system of legislation on ou/ 
part, by which a geographical line, in violation of the laws of nature^ 
and climate and soil, and of the laws of God, should be run to estab- 
lish institutions for a people contrary to their wishes ; yet, out of a 
regard for the peace and quiet of the country, out of respect for past 
pledges, and out of a desire to adhere faithfully to all compromises, 
I sustained the Missouri compromise so long as it was in force, and 
advocated its extension to the Pacific ocean. Now, wlien that has 
been, abandoned, when it has been superseded, when a great princi- 
ple of self-government has been substituted for it, I choose to cling 
to tliat principle, and abide in good faith, not only by the letter, but 
by the spirit of the last compromise. 

Sir, I do not r§<3ognize the right of the abolitionisH of this coun- 
try to arraign me for being false to sacred pledges, as they have 
done in their proclamations. Let them show when and where I 
have ever proposed to violate a compact. I have proved that I 
stood by the compact of 1820 and 1845, and proposed its continu- 
ance and observance in 1848. I have proved that the freesoilers 
and abolitionists were the guilty parties who violated that com- 
promise then. I should like to compare notes with the abolition 
confederates about adherence to compromises. When did they stand 
by or approve of any one that was ever made ? 

Did not every abolitionist and freesoiler in America denounce the 
Missouri Compromise in 1820? Did they not for years hunt dowii 
ravenously, for his blood, every man who assisted in making that 
compromise? Did they not in 1845, when Texas was annexed, 
denounce all of us who went for the annexation of Texas, and for 
the continuation of the Missouri Compromise line through it ? Did 
they not, in 1848, denounce me as a slavery propagandist for stand- 
ing by the principles of the Missouri Compromise, and proposing to 
continue it to the Pacific Ocean ? Did they not themselves violate 
and repudiate it then ? Is not the charge of bad faith true as to 
every abolitionist in America, instead of being true as to me and the 
committee, and those who advocate this bill ? 

They talk about the bill being a violation of the Compromise mea- 
sure of 1850. Who can show me a man in either house of Congress 
who was in favor of those Compromise measures in 1860, and who ia 
not now in favor of leaving the people of Nebraska and Kansas to do as 
they please upon the subject of slavery, according to the principle ol 
my bill ? Is there one ? If so, I have not heard of iiim. This tornado 
has been raised by abolitionist, and abolitionists alone. They have made 
an impression upon the public mind, in the way in which I have men 
tioned, by a falsification of the law and the facts; and this wholo 
organization against; the Compromise measures of 1850 is an abolition 


movemwBt. I presume they had some hope of getting a few tender 
footed Ehimocrats into their plot ; and, acting on what they supposed 
they might do, they sent forth pubUcly to the world the falsehood 
that their address was sighed by the senators and a majority of the 
representatives from the State of Ohio ; but when we come to 
examine signatures, we find no one "Whig there, no one Democrat 
there ; none but pure, unmitigated, unadulterated abolitionists. 

Much eftect, I know, has been produced by this circular, coming 
as it does with the imposing title of a representation of a majority 
of the Ohio delegation. What was the reason for its effect ? Be- 
cause the manner in which it was sent forth implied that all the 
Whig members from that State had joined in it; that part of the 
Demoo/ats had signed it ; and then that the two abolitionists had 
signed it, and that made a majority of the delegation. By this 
means it frightened the Whig party and the Democracy in the State 
of Ohio, because they supposed their own representatives and friends 
had gone into fhis negro movement, when the fact turns out to be 
that it was not signed by a single Whig or Democratic member from 

Now, I ask the friends and the opponents of this measure to look 
at it as it is. Is not the question involved the simple one, whether 
the people of the Territories shall be allowed to do as they please 
upon the question of slavery, subject only to the limitations of the 
Constitution ? That is all the bill provides ; and it does so in clear, 
explicit and unequivocal terms. I know there are some men, Whigs 
and Democrats, who, not willing to repudiate the Baltimore plat- 
form of their own party, would be willing to vote for this principle, 
provided they could do so in such equivocal terms that they could 
deny that it means what it was intended to mean in certain localities. 
I do not wish to deal in any equivocal language. If the principle is 
right, let it be avowed and maintained. If it is wrong, let it be 
repudiated. Let all this quibbling about the Missouri Compromise, 
about the territory acquired from France, about the act of 1820, be 
cast behind you ; for the simple question is, will you allow the peo- 
ple to legislate for themselves upon the subject of slavery ? Why 
should you not ? 

When you propose to give them a Territorial government, do you 
not acknowledge that they ought to be erected into a political organi- 
zation ; and when you give them a legislature, do you not acknow- 
ledge that they are capable of self-government? Having made that 
acknowledgment, why should you not allow them to exercise the 
rights of legislation ? Oh, these abolitionists say they are entirely 
willing to concede all this, with one exception. They say they are 
willing, to trust the Territorial legislature, under the limitations of the 
Constitution, to legislate upon the rights of inheritance, to legislate in 
regard to religion, education, and morals, to legislate in regard to the 
rolations of husband and wife, of parent and child, of guardian and 
ward, upon everything pertaining to the dearest rights and interests 


of white men, but they are not willing to trust them to legislate in 
regard to a few miserable negroes. That is their single exception. 
They acknowledge that the people of the Territories are capable of 
deciding for themselves concerning white men, but not in relation 
to negroes. The real gist of the matter is this : Does it require any 
higher degree of civilization, and intelligence, and learning, and 
sagacity, to legislate for negroes than for white men ? If it does, we 
Dught to adopt the abolition doctrine, and go with them against this 
bill. If it does not— if we are willing to trust the people with the 
great, sacred, fundamental right of prescribing their own institutions, 
consistent with the Constitution of the country — we must vote for 
this bill. That is the only question involved in the bill. I hope I 
have been able to strip it of all the misrepresentation, to wipe away 
all of that mist and obscurity with which it has been surrounded by 
this abolition address. 

I have now said all I have to say upon the present occasion. For 
all, except the first ten minutes of these remarks, the abolition con- 
federates are responsible. My object, in the first place, was only to 
explain the provisions of the bill, so that they might be distinctly 
understood. I was willing to allow its assailants to attack it as much 
as they pleased, reserving to myself the right, when the time should 
approach for taking the vote, to answer in a concluding speech all 
the arguments which might be used against it. I stiU reserve — what 
I believe common courtesy and parliamentary usage awards to the 
chairman of a committee and the author of a bill — the right of sum- 
ming up after all shall have been said which has to be said against 
this measure. 

I hope the compact which was made on last Tuesday, at the sug- 
gestion of these abolitionists, when the bill was proposed to be taken 
up, will be observed. It was that the bill, when taken up to-day, 
should continue to be considered from day to day until finally dis- 
posed of. I hope they will not repudiate and violate that compact, 
as they have the Missouri Compromise and all others which have 
been entered into. I hope, therefore, that we n:iay press the bill 
to a vote ; but not by depriving persons of an opportunity of 

I am in favor of giving every enemy of the bill the most ample 
time. Let us hear them all patiently, and then take the vote and 
pass the bill. We who are in favor of it know that the principle 
on which it is based is right. Why, then, should we gratify the 
abolition party in their effort to get up another political tornado 
of fanaticism, and put the country again in peril, merely for the 
purpose of electing a few agitators to the Congress of the United 
States ? We intend to stand by the principle of the Compromia* 
measures < f 1850. 


Delivered in the' Senate, March 3, 1854. 

Me, Peesident : before I proceed to the general argument upon 
the most important branch of this question, I must say a few wordt 
in reply to the senator from Tennessee (Mr. Bell), who has spoken 
upon the bill to-day. He approves of the principles of the bill ; he 
thinks they have great merit ; but he does not see his way entirely 
clear to vote for the bill, because of the objections which he has 
stated, most of which relate to the Indians. 

Upon that point, I desire to say that it has never been the custom 
in territorial bills to make regulations concerning the Indians within 
the limits of the proposed Territories. All matters relating to them 
it has been thought wise to leave to subsequent legislation, to be 
brought forward by the Committee on Indian Affairs. I did venture 
originally in this bill to put in one or two provisions upon that sub- 
ject; but, at the suggestion of many senators on both sides of the 
chamber, they were stricken out, in order to allow tlie appropriate 
committee of the Senate to take charge of that subject. I think, 
therefore,- since we have stricken from the bill all those provisions 
which pertain to the Indians, and reserved the whole subject for the 
consideration and action of the appropriate committee, we have 
obviated every possible objection which could reasonably be urged 
upon that score. We have every reason to hope and trust that the 
Committee on Indian Affairs will propose such measures as will do 
entire justice to the Indians, without contravening the objects of 
Congress in organizing these Territories. 

But, sir, allusion has been made to certain Indian treaties, and it 
has been intimated, if not charged in direct terms, that we were vio- 
lating the stipulations of those treaties in respect to the rights and 
lands of the Indians. The senator from Texas (Mr. Houston), made 
a very long and interesting speech on that subject; but it so hap 
pened that most of the treaties to which he referred were with In 
dians not included within the limits of this bill. We have been in- 
formed, in the course of the debate to-day, by the chairman of the 
Committee on Indian Affairs (Mr. Sebastian), that there is but one 
treaty in existence relating to lands or Indians within the limits of 
either of the proposed Territories, and that is the treaty with the 
Ottawa Indians, about two hundred persons in number, owning 
about thirty-four thousand acres of land. Thus it appears that the 
«phole argument of injustice to the red man, which in the course of 
this debate has called forth so much sympathy and indignation, is 
confined to two hundred Indians, owning less than two townships 
of land. Ng sv, sir, is it possible that a country, said to be five hun- 


dred thousand square miles in extent, and large enough to make 
twelve such States as Ohio, is to be consigned to perpetual barbarism 
merely on account of that small number of Indians, y/hen the bill 
itself expressly provides that those Indians and their lands are not 
to be included within the limits of the proposed Territories, nor to 
be subject to their laws or jurisdiction? I would not adow this 
measure to invade the I'ights of even one Indian, and hence I inserted 
in the first section of tlie bill tliat none of the tribes with whom we 
have treaty stipulations should be embraced within either of the 
Territories, unless such Indians shall voluntarily consent to be in- 
cluded therein by treaties hereafter to be made. If any senator can 
furnish me with language more explicit, or which would prove 
more efiectual in securing the rights of the Indians, I will cheerfully 
adopt it. 

Well, sir, the senator from Jennessee, in a very kind spirit, her( 
raises the objection for me to answer, that this bill includes Indians 
within the limits of these Territories with whom we have no trea- 
*jies ; and he desires to know what we are to do with them. I will 
say to him, that that is not a matter of inquiry which necessarily or 
properly arises upon the passage of this bill ; that is not a proper 
inquiry to come before the Committee on Territories. You have in 
all your Territorial bills included Indians within the boundaries of 
the Territories. When you erected the Territory of Minnesota, you 
had not extinguished the Indian title to one foot of land in that Ter- 
ritory west of the Mississippi River, and to the major part of that 
Territory the Indian title remains unextinguished to this day. In 
addition to those wild tribes, you removed Indians from Wisconsin 
and located them within Minnesota since the Territory was organ- 
ized. It will be a question for the consideration of the Committee 
on Indian Aflairs, and for the action of Congress, when, in settle- 
ment and civilization, it shall become necessary to change the present 
policy in respect to the Indians. When you erected the Territorial 
government of Oregon, a few years ago, you embraced within it aD 
the Indians living in the Territory without their consent, and with- 
out any such reservations in their behalf as are contained in this bill. 
You had not at that time made a treaty with those Indians, nor ex- 
tinguished their title to an acre of land in that Territory, nor indeed 
have you done so to this day. So it is in' the organization of Wash- 
ington Territory. You ran the lines around the country which you 
thought ought to be within the limits of the Territory, and you em- 
braced all the Indians within those lines ; but you made no provision 
in respect to their rights or lands; you left that mattei to the Com- 
mittee on Indian Affairs, to the Indian laws, and to the proper de 
partment, to be arranged afterward as the public interests might 
require. The same is true in reference to Utah and I^ ew Mexico. 

In fact, the policy provided for in this bill, in resptct to the In- 
dians, is that which is now in force in every one of t\ e Territories. 
Therefore, any senator who objects to this bill on tlnis score sliould 


have objected to and voted against every Territorial bill which jon 
have now in existence. Yet my friend from Texas has taken occa- 
sion to remind the Senate several times that it was a matter of pride 
— and it ought to be a matter of patriotic pride with him — that he 
voted for every measure of the Compromise of 1850, including the 
Utah and Ne"vr Mexico Territorial bills, embracing all the Indians 
within their limits. My friend from Tennessee, too, has been very 
liberal in voting for most of the Territorial bills ; and I therefore 
trust that the same patriotic and worthy motives which induced him 
to vote for the Territorial acts of 1850 will enable him to give his 
support to the present bill, especially as he approves of the great 
principle of popular sovereignty upon which it rests. 

The senator from Tennessee remarked further, that the proposed 
limits of these two Territories were too extensive ; that they were 
large enough to be erected into eight different States ; and why, he 
asked, the necessity of including such a vast amount of country 
within the limits of these two Territories ? I must remind the sena- 
tor that it has always been the practice to include a large extent of 
country within one Territory, and then to subdivide it from time to 
time as the public interest might require. Such was the case with 
the old Northwest Territory. It was all originally included within 
one Territorial government. Afterward Ohio was cut off; and then 
Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin, were successively erected 
into separate Territorial governments, and subsequently admitted 
into the Union as States. 

At one period, it will be remembered, the Territory of Wisconsin 
included the country embraced within the limits of the States of 
Wisconsin and Iowa, and a part of the State of Michigan, and the 
Territory of Minnesota. There is country enough within the Terri- 
tory of Minnesota to make two or three States of the size of New 
York. Washington Territory embraces about the same area. Ore- 
gon is large enough to make three or four States as extensive as 
Pennsylvania; Utah two or three, and New Mexico four or five of 
like dimensions. Indeed, the whole country embraced within the 
proposed Territories of Nebraska and Kansas, together with the 
States of Arkansas, Missouri and Iowa, and the larger part of Min- 
nesota, and the whole of Jhe Indian country west of Arkansas, once 
constituted a Territorial government, under the name of the Mis- 
souri Territory. In view of this course of legislation upon the sub- 
ject of Territorial organization, commencing before the adoption of 
the Constitution of the United States and coming down to the last 
session of Congress, it surely cannot be said that there is anything 
unusual or extraordinary in the size of the proposed Territory which 
Bnould compel a senator to vote against the bill, while he approves 
of the principles involved in the measure. 

It has also been urged in debate that there is no necessity for these 
Territorial organizations ; and I have been called upon to point out 
anj publio and national considerations which require action at this 


time Senators seem to forget that our immense and valuable po» 
sessi jns on the Pacific are separated from the States and organized 
Territories on this side of the Rocky Mountains by a vast wilder- 
ness, filled by hostile savages ; that nearly a hundred thousand emi- 
grants pass through this barbarous wilderness every year, on their 
way to California and Oregon ; that these emigrants are American 
citizens, our own constituents, who are entitled to the protection of 
;&w and government ; and that they are left to make their way, as 
best they may, without the protection or aid of law or government. 

The United States mails for New Mexico and Utah, and all ofiicial 
communications between this government and the authorities of 
those Territories, are required to be carried over these wild plains, 
and through the gorges of the mountains, where you have made no 
provision for roads, bridges, or ferries, to facilitate travel, or forts 
or other means of safety to protect life. As often as I have brought 
forward and urged the adoption of measures to remedy these evils, 
and afibrd security against the dangers to which our people are con- 
stantly exposed, they have been promptly voted down as not being 
of sufficient importance to command the favorable consideration of 
Congress. I^ow, when I propose to organize the Territories, and 
allow the people to do for themselves what you have so often re- 
fused to do for them, I am told that there are not white inhabitants 
enough permanently settled in the country to require and sustain a 
government. True, there is not a very large population there, for 
the very good reason that your Indian code and intercourse laws ex- 
clude the settlers, and forbid their remaining there to cultivate the 
floil. You refuse to throw the country open to settlers, and then 
object to the organization of the Territories upon the ground that 
there is not a sufficient number of inhabitants. 

The senator from Connecticut (Mr. Smith) has made a long argu- 
ment to prove that there are no inhabitants in the proposed Terri- 
tories, because nearly all of those who have gone and settled there 
have done so in violation of certain old acts of Congress which for- 
bid the people to take possession of and settle upon the public lands 
UQtil after they should be surveyed and brought into market. 

I do not propose to discuss the question whether these settlers are 
technically legal inhabitants or not. It is enough for me that they 
arc a part of our own people ; that they are settled on the public 
domain ; that the public interests would be promoted by throwing 
that public domain open to settlement ; and that there is no good 
reason why the protection of law and the blessings of government 
should not be extended to them. I must be permitted to remind 
the senator that the same objection existed in its full force to Minne- 
sota, to Oregon and to Washington, when each of those Territories 
were organized ; and that I have no recollection that he deemed it 
nis duty to call the attention of Congress to the objection, or con- 
sidered it of sufficient importance to justify him in recording ^m 
tvii vC'te against the organization of either of those Territories. 


Mr. President, I do not feel called upon to make any reply to the 
argument which the senator from Connecticut has urged against the 
passage of this bill upon the scoi-e of expense in sustaining these Ter- 
ritorial governments, for the reason that, if the public interests re- 
quire the enactment of the law, it follows as a natural consequence 
that all the expenses necessary to carry it into effect are wise and 

1 will now proceed to the consideration of the great principle in- 
volved in the bill, without omitting, however, to notice some of 
those extraneous matters which have been brought into this discus- 
sion with the view of producing another anti-slavery agitation. We 
have been told by nearly every senator who has spoken in opposition 
to this bill, that at the time of its introduction the people were in a 
state of profound quiet and repose ; that the anti-slavery agitation 
had entirely ceased ; and that the whole country was acquiescing 
cheerfully and cordially in the Compromise measures of 1850, as a 
final adjustment of tliis vexed question. 

Sir, it is truly refreshing to hear senators who contested every 
inch of ground in opposition to those measures when they were 
under discussion, who predicted all manner of evils and calamities 
from their adoption, and who raised the cry of repeal, and even 
resistance, to their execution, after they had become the laws of the 
land — 1 say it is really refreshing to hear these same senators now 
bear th-^ir united testimony to the wisdom of those measures, and to 
the patriotic motives which induced us to pass them in defiance of 
their threats and resistance, and to their beneficial effects in restor- 
ing peace, harmony and fraternity to a distracted country. These 
are precious confessions from the lips of those who stand pledged 
never to assent to the propriety of those measures, and to rxiake war 
upon them so long as they shall remain upon the statute-book. 1 
well understand that these confessions are now made, ]Q0« with the 
view of yielding their assent to the propriety of carrying those 
enactments into faithful execution, but for the purpose of having a 
pretext for charging upon me, as the author of this bill, the responsi- 
bility of an agitation which they are striving to produce. They say 
that 1, and not they, have revived the agitation. What have 1 done 
to render me obnoxious to this charge ? They say I wrote and intro- 
duced this Nebraska Bill. That is true ; but I was not a volunteer 
in the transaction. The Senate, by a unanimous vote, appointed me 
shairmf.n of the Territorial Committee, and associated five intelligent 
and patriotic senators with me, and thus made it our duty to take 
charge of all Territorial business. In like manner, and with the 
concurrence of these complaining senators, the Senate referred to u? 
a distinct proposition to organize this Nebraska Territory, and re- 
quired us to report specifically upon the question. I repeat, then, 
we were not volunteers in this business. The duty was imposed 
upon us by the Senate. We w^ere not unmindful of the delicacy aad 
responsibility of the position. Wo were aware that from 1820 t4> 


18t)0 the abolition doctrine of (Congressional interference with slavery 
in tlie Territories and ne^y States had so far prevailed as to keep np 
an incessant slavery agitation in Congress and thronghout the coun- 
try, whenever any new Territory was to be acquired or organized. 
We were also aware that, in 1850, the I'ight of the people to decide 
this question for themselves, subject only to the Constitution, was 
E.ubstituted for the doctrine of Congressional intervention. The first 
question, therefore, wldch the committee were called upon to decide, 
and indeed the only question of any material importance, in framing 
this bill, was this : Shall we adliere to and carry out the principle 
recognized by the Compromise nioasures of 1850, or shall we go 
back to the old exploded doctrine of Congressional interference, as 
establislied in 1820 in a large portion of the country, and which it 
was the object of the Wilmot Proviso to give a universal applica- 
tion, not only to ail the Territory which we then possessed, but all 
which we might hereafter acquire ? There were no other alternfi- 
tives. We were compelled to frame the bill upon the one or th<» 
other of these two principles. The doctrine of 1820 or the doctrine 
of 1850 must prevail. In the discharge of the duty imposed upon us 
by the Senate, the committee could not hesitate upon this point, 
whether we consulted our individual opinions and principles, or 
those which were known to be entertained and boldly avowed by a 
large majority of the Senate. The two great political parties of the 
country stood solemnly pledged before the world to adhere to the 
Compromise measures of 1850, "in principle and substance." A 
large majority of the Senate, indeed every member of the body, I 
believe, except the two avowed abolitionists (Mr. Chase and Mr. 
Sumner), profess to belong to the one or the other of these parties, 
and hence was supposed to be under a high moral obligation to carry 
out the "principle and substance " of those measures in all new Ter- 
ritorial organizations. The report of the committee was in accord 
ance with this obligation. I am arraigned, therefore, for having 
endeavored to represent the opinions and principles of the Senate 
truly ; for having performed my duty in conformity with the parlia- 
mentary law ; for having been faithful to the trust reposed in me by 
the Senate. Let the vote this night determine whether I have thus 
faithfully represented your opinions. When a majority of the Senjite 
shall have passed the bill ; when a majority of the States shall have 
indorsed it through their representatives upon this floor ; when a 
majority of the South and a majority of the North shall have sanc- 
tioned it ; when a majority of the Wliig party and a majority of th«i 
Democratic party shall have voted for it; when each of these pro- 
positions shall be demonstrated by the vote this night on the hnal 
passage of the bill, I shall be willing to submit the question to the 
country, whether, as the organ of the committee, I performed my 
duty in the report and bill which have called down upon my head 
io mu -L denunciation and abuse. 
Mr. President, the opponents of this measure have had ma i;]) t<. 


Bay about the mutations and modifications which this bill has tindei* 
gone since it was first introduced by myself, and about the alleged 
departure of the bill, in its present form, from the principle laid 
down in the original report of the committee as a rule of action in; 
all future Territorial organizations. Fortunately there is no neces- 
sity, even if your patience would tolerate such a course of argument 
at this late hour of the night, for me to examine these speeches in 
detail, and to reply to each charge separately. Each speaker seems 
to have followed faithfully in the footsteps of his leader — m the path 
marked out by the abolition confederates in their manifesto, which 
I exposed on a former occasion. You have seen them on their wind- 
ing way, meandering the narrow and crooked path in Indian file, 
each treading close upon the heels of the other, and neither ventur- 
ing to take a step to the right or left, or to occupy one inch of ground 
which did not bear the foot-print of the abolition champion. To 
answer one, therefore, is to answer the whole. The statement to 
which they seem to attach the most importance, and which they 
have repeated oftener perhaps than any other, is, that, pending the 
Compromise measures of 1850, no man in or out of Congress ever 
dreamed of abrogating the Missouri Compromise; that from that 
period down to the present session, nobody supposed that its validity 
had been impaired, or anything done which rendered it obligatory 
upon us to make it inoperative hereafter ; that at the time of sub- 
mitting the report and bill to the Senate, on the 4th of January last, 
neither I nor any member of the committee ever thought of such a 
thing ; and that we could never be brought up to the point of abro- 
gating the eighth section of the Missouri act until after the senator 
from Kentucky introduced his amendment to my bill. 

Mr. President, before I proceed to expose the many misrepresenta- 
tions contained in this complicated charge, I must call tiie attention 
of the Senate to the false issue which these gentlemen are endeavor- 
ing to impose upon the country, for the purpose of diverting public 
attention from the real issue contained in the bill. They wish to 
have the people believe that the abrogation of what they call the 
Missouri Compromise was the main object and aim of the bill, and 
that the only question involved is, whether the prohibition of slavery 
north of 36° 80' shall be repealed or not? That which is a mere 
incident, they choose to consider ihe principal. They make war on 
the means by which we propose to accomplish an object, instead of 
openly resisting the object itself. The principle which we propose 
to carry into effect by the bill is this : That Congress shall neither 
legislate slavery into any Territories or State, nor out of the same ; 
but the people shall be left free to regulate their domestic concerns 
in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United 

In order to carry this principle into practical operation, it becoroeB 
necessary to remove whatever legal obstacles might be found in the 
way of its free exercise. It is only for the purpose of carrying out 


SLife gi'eat fundamental principle of self-government that tl/e bill 
renders the eighth section of the Missouri act inoperative and 

Now, let me ask, will these senators who have arraigned me, or 
any one of them, have the assurance to rise in his place and declare 
that this great principle was never thought of or advocated as appli- 
cable to Territorial bills in 1850 ; that, from that session until the 
present, nobody ever thought of incorporating this principle in all 
new Territorial organizations; that the Committee on Territories 
did not recommend it in their report ; and that it required the 
amendment of the senator from Kentucky to bring us up to that 
point ? Will any one of my accusers dare to make this issue^ and 
let it be tried by the record ? I will begin with the compromises of 
1850. Any senator who will take the trouble to examine our jour- 
nals will find that on the 2oth of March of that year I reported from 
the Committee on Territories two bills including the following mea- 
sures : The admission of California, a Territorial government for 
rtah, a Territorial government for New Mexico, and the adjustment 
of the Texas boundary. These bills proposed to leave the people of 
Utah and New Mexico free to decide the slavery question for them- 
selves, in the precise language of the Nebraska Bill now under dis- 
cussion. A few weeks afterward, the Committee of Thirteen took 
those two bills and put a wafer between them, and reported them 
back to the Senate as one bill, with some slight amendments. One 
of those amendments was, that the Territorial legislatures should 
not legislate upon the subject of African slavery. I objected to that 
provision upon the ground that it subverted the great principle of 
self-government upon which the bill had been originally framed by 
the Territorial Committee. On the the first trial, the Senate refused 
to strike it out, but subsequently did so, after full debate, in order 
to establish that principle as the rule of action in Territorial organi- 

Upon this point I trust I will be excused for reading one or twc 
sentences from some remarks I made in the Senate on the 3d of June, 

" The position that I have ever taken has been that this, the slavery question, 
and all other questions relating to the domestic aifairs and domestic policj' of 
the Territories, ought to be left to the decision of the people themselves, and 
that we ougc; to be content with ■whatever way they would decide the ques- 
tion Liecause they have a much deeper interest in these matters than we have, 
and know much better what institutions will suit them, than we, who have 
never been there, can decide for them." 

Again, in the same debate, I said : 

" I do not see how those of us who have taken the position which t\-e have 
taken, (that of non-interference,) and have argued in favor of the right of tht 
people to leg^islature for themselves on this question, can support such a pro- 
vision without abandoning all the arguments which we urged in the Preuaeo 


tial campaJgu in the year 1848, and the principles set forth by the honorabla 
Benator from Michigan in that letter which is known as the ' Nicholson letter.' 
We are required to abandon that platform ; we are required to abandon those 
principles, and to stultify ourselves, and to adopt the opposite doctrine ; and 
for what ? In order to say that the people of the Territories shall not have 
such institutions as they shall deem adapted to their condition and their wants. 
I do not see, sir, how such a provision as that can be acceptable either to the 
people of the North or the South." 

Mr. President, I could go on and multiply extract after extract 
from my speeches in 1850, and prior to that date,- to show that this 
doctrine of leaving the people to decide these questions for them- 
selves is not an " after-thought " with me, seized upon, this session, 
for the first time, as my calumniators have so frequently and boldly 
charged in their speeches during this debate, and in their manifesto 
to the public. I refused to support the celebrated Oumibus Bill in 
1S50 until the obnoxious provision was stricken out, and the principle 
of self-government restored, as it existed in my original bill. No 
sooner were the Compromise measures of 1850 passed, than the 
abolition confederates, w^ho lead the opposition to this bill now, 
raised the cry of repeal in some sections of the country, and in others 
forcible resistance to the execution of the law. In order to arrest 
'»nd suppress the treasonable purposes of these abolition confederates, 
and avert the horrors of civil war, it became my duty, on the 23(1 
of October, 1850, to address an excited and frenzied multitude at 
Chicago, in defence of each and all of the Compromise measures of 
that year. I will read oae or two sentences from that speech, to 
show how those measures were then understood and explained by 
their advocates : 

" These measures are predicated on the great fundamental principle that every 
people ought to possess the light of forming and regulating their own internal 
concerns and dmnestic institutions in their own way." 

" These things are all confided by the Constitution to each State to decide 
for itself, and I know of no reason why the same principle should not be con- 
fided to the Territories." 

In this speech it will be seen that I lay down a general principle 
of universal application, and make no distinction between Terri- 
tories north or south of 36° 30'. 

1 am aware that some of the abolition confederates have perpe- 
trated a monstrous forgery on that speech, and are now circulating 
through the abolition newspapers the statement that I said that 
I would "cling with the tenacity of life to the compromise of 1820." 
This statement, false as it is — a deliberate act of forgery, as it i3 
known to be by all who have ever seen or read the speech referred 
to — constitutes the staple article out of which most of the abolition 
orators at the small anti-Kebraska meetings manufacture the greater 
part of theii' sp'ieches. I now declare that there is not a senterice, 


a line, even a word in that speech, which imposes the slightest limi- 
tation on the application of the great principle embraced in this 
bill in all new Territorial organizations, without the least reference 
to the line of 36^ 30'. 

At the session of 1850-51, a few weeks after this speech was 
made at- Chicago, and when it had been published in pamphlet form 
and circulated extensively- over the States, the legislature of L.inoia 
proceeded to revise its action upon the slavery question, and define 
its position on the compromise of 1850. After rescinding the reso- 
lutions adopted at a previous session, instructing my colleague and 
myself to vote for a proposition prohibiting slavery in the Territories, 
resolutions were adopted approving the Compromise measures of 
1850. I will read one of the resolutions, which was adopted in the 
House of Representatives, by a vote of 61 yeas to 4 nays : 

'^Resolved, That our liberty and independence are based upon the right of 
the people to form for themselves such a government as they may choose ; 
that this great privilege — the birthright of freemen, the gift of Heaven, secured 
to us by the blood of our ancestors — ought to be extended to future generations ; 
and no limitation ought to be applied to this power, in the organization of any 
Territory of the United States, of either a Territorial government or a State 
Constitution : Provided, The government so established shall be republican, 
and in conformity with the Constitution." 

Another series of resoulutions having passed the Senate almost 
unanimously, embracing the same principle in different language, 
they were concurred in by the House. Thus was the position of 
Illinois, upon the slavery question defined at the first session of the 
legislature after the adoption of the Compromise of 1850. 

Now, sir, what becomes of the declaration which has been made 
by nearly every opponent of this bill, that nobody in this whole 
Union ever dreamed that the principle of the Utah and New Mexican 
bill w^as to be incorporated into all future Territorial organizations ? 
1 have shown that my own State so understood and declared it at 
the time in the most implicit and solemn manner. Illinois declared 
that our "liberty and independence" rest upon this "principle;" 
that the principle "ought to be extended to future generations;" 
and that " no limitation ought to be applied to this power in 


exception is made in regard to Nebraska. No Missouri Compromise 
lines ; no reservations of the country north of 36° 30'. The principle 
is declared to be be the "birthright of freemen:" the "gift of Hea- 
von, to be applied without limitation," in Nebraska as well as Utah, 
north as well as south of 36° 30'. 

It may not be out of place here to remark that the legislature ot 
Illinois, at its recent session, has passed resolutions approving tho 
Nebraska Bill ; and among the resolutions is one in the precise 
ianguage of the resolution of 1851, which I have just read to th« 


Thus I have shown, Mr. President, that the legislature and peopla 
of Illinois have al^ways understood the Compromise measures of 1850 
as establishing certain principles as rules of action in the organization 
of all new Territories, and that no limitation was to be made on 
either side of the geographical line of 36° 30'. 

Neither my time nor your patience will allow me to take up the 
resolutions of the different States in detail, and show what has been 
the common understanding of the whole country upon this point. I 
am now vindicating myself and my own action against the assaults 
of my calumniators ; and, for that purpose, it is sufficient to show 
that, in the report and bill which I have presented to the Senate, 1 
have only carried out the known principles and solemnly declared 
will of the State whose representative I am. I will now invite the 
attention of the Senate to the report of the committee, in order that 
it may be known how much, or rather how little, truth there is for 
the allegation which has been so often made and repeated on this 
floor, that the idea of allowing the people in Nebraska to decide the 
slavery question for themselves was a " sheer after-thought," con- 
ceived since the report was made, and not until the senator from 
Kentucky proposed his amendment to the bill. 

I read from that portion of the report in which the committee 
lay down the principle by which they propose to be governed: 

" In the judgment of your committee, those measures (Compromise of 1850) 
were intended to have a far more comprehensive and enduring effect than tlie 
mere adjustment of the difiSculties arising out of the recent acquisition of 
Mexican territory. They were designed to establish certain great principles, 
which would not only furnish adequate remedies for existing evils, but in all 
time to come avoid the perils of a similar agitation, by withdrawing the question 
of slavery from the halls of Congress and the political arena, and committing it to 
the arbitrament of those who were immediately interested in and alone responsible 
for its consequences." 

After making a brief argument in defence of this principle, the 
report proceeds, as follows : 

"From these provisions, it is apparent that the Compromise measures of 1850 
affirm and rest upon the following propositions: 

" First, that all questions pertaining to slavery in the Territories, and in 
the new States to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the decision of the 
people residing therein, by their appropriate representatives, to be chosen by 
them for that purpose." 

And in conclusion, the report proposes a substitute for the bill 
introduced by the senator from Iowa, and concludes as follows : 

"The substitute for the bill which your committee have prepared, and 
which is commended to the favorable action of the Senate, proposes to carry 
vhese propositions and principles into practical operation, in the precise lan- 
guage of the Compromise measures of 1850." 

Mr. President, as there has been so much misrepresentation upor 


this point, I must be permitted to repeat that the doctrine of the 
report of the committee, as has been conclusively proved by these 
extraci;s,a& — 

First, That the whole question of slavery should be withdrawn 
from the halls of Congress, and the political arena, and committed 
to the arbitrament of those who are immediately interested in and 
alone responsible for its existence. 

Second, The applying this principle to the Territories and the new 
States to be formed therefrom, all questions pertaining to slavery 
were to be referred to the people residing tlierein. 

Third, That the committee proposed to carry these propositions 
and principles into effect in the precise language of the compromise 
measures of 1850. 

Are not these propositions identical with the principles and pro- 
visions of the bill on your table ? If there is a hair's breadth of dis- 
crepancy between the two, I ask any senator to rise in his place and 
point it out. Both rest upon the great principle, which forms the 
basis of all our institutions, that the people are to decide the question 
for themselves, subject only to the Constitution. 

But my accusers attempt to raise up a false issue, and thereby 
divert public attention from the real one, by the cry that the Mis- 
souri Compromise is to be repealed or violated by the passage of this 
bill. Well, if the eighth section of the Missouri Act, which attempted 
to fix the destinies of future generations in those Territories for all 
time to come, in utter disregard of the rights and wishes of the 
people when they should be received into the Union as States, be 
inconsistent with the great principle of self-government and the 
Constitution of the United States, it ought to be abrogated. The 
legislation of 1850 abrogated the Missouri Compromise, so far as the 
country embraced within the limits of Utah and New Mexico was 
covered by the slavery restriction. It is true, that those acts did 
not in terms and by name repeal the act of 1820, as originally adopted, 
or as extended by the resolutions annexing Texas in 1845, any more 
than the report of the Committee on Territories proposes to repeal 
the same acts this session. But the acts of 1850 did authorize the 
people of those Territories to exercise •' all rightful powers of legis- 
lation consistent with the Constitution," not excepting the question 
of slavery ; and did provide that, when those Territories should be 
admitted into the Union, they should be received with or with -ut 
slavery as the people thereof might determine at the date of thtir 
admission. These provisions were in direct conflict with a clause in 
a former enactment, declaring that slavery should be forever pro- 
hibited in any portion of said Territories, and hence rendered such 
clause inoperative and void to the extent of such conflict. This was 
an inevitable consequence, resulting from the provisions in thosa 
acts which gave the people the right to decide the slavery question 
for themselves, in conformity with the Constitution. It was not 
necessary to go further and declare that certain previrms enactment*. 


which were incompatible with the exercise of the powers couferj-ec 
in the bills, " are hereby repealed." The very act of granting those 
powers and rights have the legal effect of removing all obstructions 
to the exercise of them by the people, as prescribed in those Terri- 
torial bills. Following that example, the Committee on Territories 
did not consider it necessary to declare the eighth section of the 
Missouri act repealed. We were content to organize N"ebraska in 
the precise language of the Utah and iTew Mexican bills. Our 
object was to leave the people entirely free to form and regulate their 
domestic institutions and internal concerns in their own way, under 
the constitution ; and we deemed it wise to accomplish that object 
in the exact terms in which the same thing had been done in Utah 
and ITew Mexico by the acts of 1850. This was the principle upon 
which the committee reported ; and our bill was supposed, and is 
now believed, to have been in accordance witli it. When doubts 
were raised whether the bill did fully carry out the principle laid 
down in the report, amendments were made, from time to time, in 
order to avoid all misconstruction, and make the true intent of the 
act more explicit. The last of these amendments was adopted yes- 
terday, on the motion of the distinguished senator from North 
Carolina (Mr. Badger), in regard to the revival of any laws or 
regulations which may haye existed prior to 1820. That amendment 
was not intended to change the legal effect of the bill. Its object 
was to repel the slander which had been propagated by the enemies 
of the measures in the North, that the southern suppoi'ters of the 
bill desired to legislate slavery into these Territories. The south 
denies the right of Congress either to legislate slavery into any 
Territory or State, or out of any Territory or State. Non-interven- 
tion by Congress with slavery in the States or Territories is the 
doctrine of the bill, and all the amendments which have been agreed 
to have been made with the view of removing all doubts and cavU 
as to the true meaning and object of the measure. 

Mr. President, I think 1 have succeeded in vindicating myself and 
the action of the committee from the assaults which have been made 
upon us in consequence of these amendments. It seems to be the 
tactics of our opponents to direct their arguments against the unim- 
portant points and incidental questions which are to be affected by 
carrying out the principle, with the hope of relieving themselves 
from the necessity of controverting the principle itself. The senator 
from Ohio (Mr, Chase) led off gallantly in the charge that the com- 
mittee, in the report and bill first submitted, did not contemplate the 
repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and could not be brought to that 
point until after the senator from Kentucky offered his amendment. 
The senator from Connecticut (Mr. Smith) followed his lead, and 
repeated the same statement. Then came the other senator from 
Ohio (Mr. Ward), and the senator from New York (Mr. Seward), 
and senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Sumner), all singing the same 
long, only varying the tune. 

Stephen a. Do^•GLAs. 105 

L«t me ask those senators what they mean by this statement ? 
Do they "ni&h to be understood as saying that the report and firsi 
form of- tlie bill did not provide for leaving the slavery question to 
the decision of the people in the terms of the ITtah Bill ? Surely 
they will not dare to say that, for I have already shown that the 
two measures were identical in principle and enactment. Do they 
mean to say that the adoption of our first bill would not have had 
the legal effect to have rendered the eighth section of the Missouri 
Act "inoperative and void," to use the language of the present bill? 
If this be not their meaning, will they rise in their places and inform 
the Senate what their meaning was? They must have had some 
object in giving so much prominence to this statement, and in repeat- 
ing it so often. I address the question to the senators from Ohio 
and Massachusetts (Mr. Cliase and Mr. Sumner). 1 despair in extort- 
ing a response from tliem , for, no matter in what way they may 
answer upon this point, I have in my hand the evidence over their 
own signatures, to disprove the truth of their answer. I allude to 
tlieir appeal or manifesto to the people of the United States, in which 
they arraign the bill and report, in coarse and savage terms, as a 
proposition to repeal the Missouri Compromise, to violate plighted 
faith, to abrogate a solemn compact, etc. etc. This document was 
signed by those two senators in their official capacity, and published 
to the world before any amendments had been offered to the bill. 
It was directed against the committee's first bill and report, and 
against them alone. If the statements in this document be true, 
that the first bill did repeal the eighth section of the Missouri Act, 
what are we to think of the statements in their speeches since, that 
such was not the intention of the committee, was not the recom- 
mendation of the report, and was not the legal effect of the bill ? 
On the contrary, if the statements in their subsequent speeches are 
true, what apology do those senators propose to make to the Senate 
and country for having falsified the action of the committee in a 
document over their own signatures, and thus spread a false alarm 
among tlie people, and misled the public mind in respect to our pro- 
ceedings ? These senators c:mnot avoid the one or the other of these 
alternatives. Let them seize upon either, and they stand condemned 
and self-c(mvicted ; in the one case by their manifesto, and in the 
other by their speeches. 

In fact, it is clear that they have understood the bill to mean tho 
same thing, and to have the same legal effect in whatever phase it 
has been presented. When first introduced, they denounced it as £ 
proposition to abrogate the Missouri restriction. When amended, 
they repeated the same denunciation, and so on each successive 
uinendment. They now object to tl)e passage of the bill for the same 
reason, thus proving conclusively that they have not the least faith 
in the correctness of their own statements in respect to tho mutations 
and changes in the bill. 

They seem very unwilling to meet the real issue. They do not 


like to discuss the principle. There seems to be sometMng which 
strikes them with terror when you invite their attention to this great 
fundamental principle of popular sovereignty. Hence you find that 
all the memorials they have presented are against repealing the Mis- 
souri Compromise, and in favor of the sanctity of compacts — in favor 
of preserving plighted faith. The senator from Ohio is cautious to 
dedicate his speech with some such heading as " Maintain Plighted 
Faith." The object is to keep the attention of the people as far as 
possible from this principle of self-government and constitutional 

Well, sir. what is this Missouri Compromise, of which we have 
heard so much of late ? It has been read so often that it is not 
necessary to occupy the time of the Senate in reading it again. It 
was an act of Congress, passed on the 6th of March, 1820, to author- 
ize the people of Missouri to form a constitution and a State govern- 
ment, preparatory to the admission of such State into the Union. 
The iirst section provided that Missouri should be received into the 
Union " on an equal footing with the original States in all respects 
whatsoever," The last and eighth section provided that slavery 
sljould be " for ever prohibited " in all the territory whifih had been 
acquired from France north of 36° 30', and not included within the 
limits of the State of Missouri. There is nothing in the terms of the 
law that purports to be a compact, or indicates that it was anything 
more than an ordinary act of legislation. To prove that it was more 
than it purports to be on its face, gentlemen must produce other 
evidence, and prove that there was such an understanding as to 
create a moral obligation in the nature of a compact. Have they 
shown it? 

I have heard but one item of evidence produced during this whole 
debate, and that was a short paragraph from Niles's Register, pub- 
lished a few days after the passage of the act. But gentlemen aver 
thar, it was a solemn compact, which could not be violated or abro- 
gated without dishonor. According to their itnderstanding, the con- 
tract was that, in consideration of the admission of Missouri into the 
Union, on an equal footing with the original States in all respects 
whatsoever, slavery should be prohibited forever in the Territorieg 
north of 36° 30'. Now, who were the parties to this alleged com- 
pact ? Tliey tell us that it was a stipulation between the North and 
the South. Sir, I know of no such parties under the Constitution. 
I am unwilling that there shall be any such parties known in our 
legislation. If there is such a geographical line, it ought to be obli- 
terated for ever, and there should be no other parties than those 
Provided for in the Constitution, viz. : the States of this Union. 
'hese are the only parties capable of contracting under the Consti- 
tution of the United States. 

Now, if this was a compact, let us see how it was entered into. 
The bill originated in the Hou^e of Representatives, and passed that 
bo<f y without a southern vote in its favor. It is proper to remark, 


nowever, that it did not at that time contain the eighth sectio'j, pro- 
hibiting slavery in the Territories ; hut in lieu of it, contained a pio- 
vision prohibiting slavery in the proposed State of Missouri. In the 
Senate, tlie clause proliibiting slavery in the State was stricken out, 
and the eighth section added to the end of the bill, by the terms ol 
which slavery was to be forever prohibited in the Territory not 
embraced in the State of Missouri north of 36° 30'. The vote on 
adding this section stood, in the Senate, 34 in the affirmative, and 10 
in the negative. Of the northern senators, 20 voted for it and 2 
against it. On the question of ordering the bill to a third reading as 
amended, which was the test vote on its passage, the vote stood 24 
yeas and 20 nays. Of the northern senators, 4 only voted in the 
affirmative, and 18 in the negative. Thus it will be seen that, if it 
was intended to be a compact, the North never agreed to it. The 
northern senators voted to insert the prohibition of slavery in the 
Territories ; and then, in the proportion of more than four to one 
voted against the passage of the bill. The North, therefore, never 
signed the compact, never consented to it, never agreed to be bound 
by it. This fact becomes very important in vindicating the character 
of the North for repudiating this alleged compromise a few months 
afterward. The act was approved and became a law on the 6th of 
March, 1820. In the summer of that year, the people of Missouri 
formed a constitution and State government, preparatory to admis- 
sion into the Union, in conformity with the act. At the next session 
of Congress the Senate passed a joint resolution, declaring Missouri 
to be one of the States of the Union, on an equal footing with the 
original States. This resolution was sent to the House of Represen- 
tatives, where it was rejected by northern votes, and thus Missouri 
was voted out of the Union, instead of being received into the Union 
under the act of the 6th of March, 1820, now known as the Missouri 
Compromise. Now, sir, what becomes of our phghted faith, if the 
act of the 6th of March, 1820, was a solemn compact, as we are now 
told? They have all rung the changes upon it, tijat it was a sacred 
and irrevocable compact, binding in honor, in conscience, and morals, 
which could not be violated or repudiated without perfidy and dis- 
honor ! The two senators from Ohio (Mr. Chase and Mr. Wade), 
the senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Sumner), the senator from Con- 
necticut (Mr. Smith), the senator from New York (Mr. Seward), and 
perhaps others, have all assumed this position. 

Me. Sewaed. — "Whoever will refer to my antecedents will find 
that in the year 1850 I expressed opinions on the subject of legisla- 
tive compromises between the North and South, which, at that-day 
were rejected and repudiated. 

Me. Douglas. — If the object of the senator is to go back, and go 
through all his opinions, I cannot yield the floor to him ; hut if hia 
object is now to show that the North did not violate the Missouri 
compromise, I will yield. 

Me. Sewaed. — If the honorabk senator will allow me just oaa 


minute and a half, without dictating what I shall say within that 
minute and a half, I shall be satisfied. 

Me. Potjglas. — Certainly, I will consent to that. 

Mk. Sewaed. — I find that the honorable senator from Illinois is 
standing upon the ground upon which I stood in 1850. I have 
nothing to say now in favor of that ground. On this occasion, I 
Btand upon the ground, in regard to compromises, Avhich has been 
adopted by the country. Then, when the senator tells me that the 
North did not altogether, willingly, and unanimously, consent to the 
compromise of 1820, 1 agree to it ; but I have been overborne in the 
country, on the ground that if one nortliern man carried with him a 
majority of Congress he bound the whole North. And so I hold ir 
regard to the compromise of 1820, that it ■v\ as carried by a vote 
which has been held by the South and by the honorable senator 
from Illinois to bind the North. The South having received their 
consideration and equivalent, I only hold him, upon his own doctrine 
nnd the doctrine of the South, bound to stand to it. That is all I 
have to say upon that point. 

A few words more will cover all that I have to say about what 
the honorable senator may say hereafter as to the North repudiating 
this contract. When I was absent, I understood the senator alluded 
to the fact that my name appeared upon a paper which was issued 
ly the honorable senator from Ohio, and some other members of 
Congress, to the people, on the subject of this bill. Upon that point 
it has been my intention throughout to leave to the honorable 
senator from Illinois, and those who act with him, whatever there 
is of merit, and whatever there is of responsibility for the present 
measure, and for all the agitation and discussion upon it. Therefore, 
as soon as I found, when I returned to the Capitol, that my name 
was on that paper, I caused it to be made known and published, as 
fully and extensively as I could, that I had never been consulted in 
regard to it ; that I know nothing about it ; and that the merit of 
the measure, as well as the responsibility, belonged to the honorable 
senator from Ohio, and those who cooperated with him ; and that I 
had never seen the paper on which he commented ; nor have I in 
any way addressed the public upon the subject. 

Me. Douglas. — I wish to ask the senator from New York a question. 
If I understood his remarks Avhen he spoke, and if I understand his 
sj)ef.f^h as published, he averred that the Missouri Compromise was a 
compav, '^'f^tween the North and the South ; that the North performed 
it on its pa,.t; that it had done so faithfully for thirty years; that 
♦■he South had received all its benefits, and the moment these benefits 
had been fully realized, the South disavowed the obligations under 
which it had received them. Is not that his position ? 

Mr. Sewahd. — I am not accustomed to answer questions put to me, 
unless they are entirely categorical, and placed in such a shape that 
I may know exactly, and have time to consider, their whole extent 
The honorable senator from Illinois has put a very broad question 


What I mean to say, however, and that will answer his purpose, is, 
lliat his position, and that the position of the South is, tiuit tliis was 
11 compromise ; and I say that the North has never repudiated that 
(X)nipromise. Indeed, it has never liad the power to do so. Missouri 
came into the Union, and Arkansas came into the Union, under thai 
compromise ; and, whatever individuals may have said, whatevei 
individuiis, more or less humble than myself, may have contended, 
tlie practical effect is, that the South has had all that she could get 
by that compromise, and that the North is now in the predicament 
of being obliged to defend what was left to her. I believe that 
answers the question. 

Me. Douglas. — Now, Mr. President, I choose to bring men directly 
up to this point. The senator from New York has labored in hie 
whole speech to make it appear that this was a compact ; that the 
North had been faithful ; and that the South acquiesced until she got 
all its advantages, and then disavowed and sought to annul it. This 
he pronounced to be bad faith ; and he made appeals about disorder. 
The senator from Connecticut (Mr. Smith) did the same thing, and 
so did the senator from Massacliusetts (Mr. Sumner), and the senator 
from Ohio (Mr. Chase). That is the point to which the whole aboli- 
tion party are now directing all their artillery in this battle. Now, 
I propose to bringuthem to the point. If this was a compact, and if 
what they have said is fair, or just, or true, who was it that repudi- 
ated the compact ? 

Me. Stjmnee. — Mr. President, the senator from Illinois, I know, does 
not intend to misstate my position. That position, as announced in 
the language of the speech which I addressed to the Senate, and 
which I now hold in my hand, is, " this is an infraction of solemn 
obligations, assumed beyond recall by the South, on the admission of 
Missouri into the Union as a slave State;" which was one year after 
the act of 1820. 

Me. Douglas. — ^Mr. President, I shall come to that ; and I wish to 
see whether this was an obligation which was assumed " beyond 
recall." If it was a compact between the two parties, one party has 
been faithful, it is beyond recall by the other. If, however, one party 
has been faithless, what shall we think of them, if, while faithless, 
they ask a performance? 

Me. Sewaed. — Show it. 

Me. Douglas.— That is what T am coming to. I have already 
stated that, at the nest session of Congress, Missouri presented a 
constitution in conformity with the act of 1820 ; that the Senate passed 
a joint resolution to admit her ; and that the House refused to admit 
Missouri in conformity with the alleged compact, and, I think, on 
three distinct votes, rejected her. 

Me. Seward. — I beg my honorable friend, for I desire to call him 
80, to answer me frankly whether he would rather I should say what 
I have to say in this desultory way, or whether he would prefer that 1 
should answei- him afterward ; because it is with me a rule in the Se* 
tiatc uevti [• to interrupt a gentleman, except to help him in his argument 



Mr. DooftLAs. — I would rather hear the senator now. 

Me. Sewaed. — What I have to say now, and I acknowledgtJ the 
magnanimity of the senator from Illinois in allowing me to say it, is, 
that the North stood by that compact until Missouri came in with a 
constitution, one article of which denied to colored citizens of other 
States the equality of privileges which were allowed to all other 
citizens of the United Sates, and then the North insisted on the right 
of colored men to be regarded as citizens, and entitled to the privi- 
leges and immunities of citizens. Upon that a new compromise was 
necessary. I hope I am candid. 

Me. Douglas. — The senator is candid, I have no doubt, as he 
understands the facts ; but I undertake to maintain that the North 
objected to Missouri because she allowed slavery, and not because of 
the free-negro clause alone. 

Me. Sewaed. — No sir. 

Me. Douglas. — Now I will proceed to prove that the North did 
not object, solely on account of the free-negro clause ; but that in 
House of Representatives at that time, the North objected as well 
Viecause of slavery as in regard to free negroes. Here is the evidence. 
In the House of Representatives, on the 12th of February, 1821, Mr. 
Mallory, of "Vermont, moved to amend the Senate joint resolution 
for the admission of Missouri, as follows : 

" To amend the said amendment, by striking out all thereof after the words 
respects, and inserting the following : ' Whenever people of the said State, by 
a convention, appointed according to the manner provided by the act to autho- 
rize the people of Missouri to form a constitution and State government, and 
for the admission of such State into the Union on an equal footing with the 
original States, and to prohibit slavery in certain Territories, approved March 
6, 1820, adopt a constitution conformably to the provisions of said act, and 
shall, IN ADDITION to Said provisions, further provide, in and by said constitution, 
that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever be allowed in said State oj 
Missouri, unless inflicted as a punishment for crimes committed against the 
laws of said State, whereof the party accused shall be duly convicted : Pro- 
vided, That the civil condition of those persons who now are held to service in 
Missouri shall not be affected by this last provision.' " 

Here I show, then, that the proposition was made that Missouri 
should not come in unless, in addition to complying with the Mis- 
souri Compromise, so called, she would go further, and prohibit 
slavery within the limits of the State. 

Me. Sewaed. — Now, then, for the vote. 

Me. Douglas.-^ — The vote was taken by yeas and nays. I hold it 
in my hand. Sixty-one northern men voted for that amendment, 
and thirty-three against it. Thus the North, by a vote of nearly two 
to one, expressly repudiated a solemn compact upon the very matter 
in controversy, to wit : that slavery should not be prohibited in the 
State of Missouri. 

Me. Wellee. — Let the senator from New York answer that. 

Me. Douglas. — I should like to hear his answer. 

Me. Sewaed. — I desire, if I shall be obtrusive by speaking in thin 
way, that senators will at once signify, or that any senator will sig- 

Stephen a. doi^glas. ill 

aify, tliat T am obtrusive. But I make these explanations in lliij 
\ray, for the reason that I desire to give the honorable senator from 
Illinois the privilege of hearing my answer to him as he goes along. It 
is simply this : That this doctrine of compromises is, as it has been 
held, that if so many northern men shall go with so many southern 
men as to fix the law, then it binds the North and South alike. I tliere- 
fore have but one answer to make : the vote for the restriction was 
less than the northern vote given against the compromise. 

Me. Douglas. — Well, now, we come to this point: We have been 
told, during this debate, that you must not judge of the North by the 
minority, but by the majority. You have been told, that the mi- 
nority, who stood by the Constitution and the rights of the South, 
were dough-faces. 

Me. Sewaed. — I have not said so. I will not say so. 

Me. Douglas. — You have all said so in your speeches, and you 
have asked us to take the majority of the North. 

Me. Sewaed — I spoke of the practical fact, I never said anything 
about dough-faces. 

Me. Douglas. — You have asked us to take the majority instead of 
the minority. 

Me. Sewaed. — The majority of the country. 

Me. Douglas. — I am talking of the majority of the northern vote. 

Me. Sewaed. — No, sir. 

Mr. Douglas. — 1 hope the senator will hear me. I wish to recall him 
to the issue. I stated that the North in the House of Representatives 
voted against admitting Missouri into the Union under the act of 
1820, and caused the defeat of that measure; and he said that they 
voted against it on the ground of the free-negro clause in her consti- 
tution, and not upon the ground of slavery. Now, I have shown by 
the evidence that it was upon the ground of slavery, as well as upon 
the other ground ; and that a majority of the North required not 
only that Missouri should comply with the compact of 1820, so 
called, but that she should go further, and give up the whole consi- 
deration which the senator says the South received from the North 
for the Missouri Compromise. The compact, he says, was that, in 
consideration of slavery being permitted in Missouri, it should be 
prohibited in the Territories. After having procured the prohibition 
in the Territories, the North, by a majority of votes, refused to 
admit Missouri as a slaveholding State, and in violation of the alleged 
compact, required her to prohibit slavery as a further condition of 
her admission. This repudiation of the alleged compact by the North 
is recorded by yeas and nays, sixty-one to thirty-three, and entered 
upon the Journal, as an imperishable evidence of the fact. With this 
evidence before us, against whom should the charge of perfidy be 
preferred ? 

Sir, if this was a compact, what must be thought of those who 
violated it almost immediately after it was formed ? I say it was a 
calumny upon the North to say that it was a compact : I s>>ould feel 


a flash of shame upon my cheek, as a northern man, if I were to say 
that it was a compact, and that the section of the country to wliich 
I belong received the consideration, and then repudiated the obliga- 
tion in eleven months after it was entered into. I deny that it was a 
compact in any sense of the term. But if it was, the record proves 
that faith was not observed ; that the contract was never carried 
into effect; that after the IsTorth had procured the pass&ge of the 
act prohibiting slavery in the Territories, with a majority in tlie 
House large enough to prevent its repeal, Missouri was refused adjni*- 
sion into the Union as a slaveholding State, in conformity with the 
act of March 6, 1820. If the proposition be correct, as contended 
for by the opponents of this bill, that there was a solemn compact 
between the North and the Soutli, that, in consideration of the pro- 
hibition of slavery in the Territories, Missouri was to be admitted 
into the Union in conformity with the act of 1820, that compact was 
repudiated by the North and rescinded by the joint action of the 
two parties within twelve months from its date. Missouri was never 
admitted under the act of the 6th of March, 1820. She was refused 
admission under that act. She was voted out of the Union by 
northern votes, notwithstanding the stipulation that she should bo 
received ; and, in consequence of these facts, a new compromise was 
rendered necessary, by the terms of which Missouri was to be ad- 
mitted into the Union conditionally — admitted on a condition not 
embraced in the act of 1820, and, in addition, to full compliance 
with all the provisions of said act. If, then, the act of 1820, by the 
eighth section of which slavery was prohibited in the Territories 
was a compact, it is clear to the comprehension of every fair-minded 
man that the refusal of the North to admit Missouri, in compli- 
ance with its stipulations, and without further conditions, imposes 
upon us a high moral obligation to remove the prohibition of slavery 
in the Territories, since it has been shown to have been procured 
upon a condition never performed. 

Mr. President, inasmuch as the senator from New York has taken 
great pains to impress upon the public mind of the North the con- 
viction that the act of 1820 was a solemn compact, the violation or 
repudiation of which by either party involves perfidy and dishonor, 
I wish to call the attention of that senator (Mr. Seward) to the fact, 
that his own State was the first to repudiate the compact and to 
instruct her senators in Congress not to admit Missouri into the 
Union in compliance with it, nor unless slavery should be prohibited 
in the State of Missouri. 

Mr. Sewaed. — That is so. 

Mr. Douglas. — I have the resolutions before me, in the printed 
Journal of the Senate. The senator from New York is familiar with 
th.e fact, and frankly admits it : 

"State of New York, (_ 

In Assembly, Novembir 18, IS^O. ) 

•'Whereas the legislature of this State, at the iast session, did inetract theil 


genators and reqnest their representatives in Congress to oppose the admission, 
as a State, into the Union, of any territory not comprised within the original 
boundaries of the United States, without making the prohibition of slavery 
therein an indispensable condition of admission; and whereas this legislature 
is impressed with the correctness of the sentiments so communicated to our 
senators and representatives : Therefore — 

" Resolved (if the honorable the Senate concur herein), That this legislature 
does approve of the principles contained in the resolutions of the last session ; 
and further, if the provisions contained in any proposed constitution of a new 
State deny to any citizens of the existing States the privileges and immunities 
of citizens of such new State, that such proposed constitution should not be 
accepted or confirmed ; the same, in the opinion of this legislature, being void 
by the Constitution of the United States. And that our senators be instructed, 
and our representatives in Congress be requested, to use their utmost exer- 
tions to prevent the acceptance and confirmation of any such constitution." 

It will be seen by these resolutions, that at the previous session 
the New York legislature had " instructed " the senators from that 
State " to oppose the admission, as a State, into the Union of any 
territory not comprised within the original botmdaries of the United 
States, without making the prohibition of slavery therein an indis 
pensable condition of admission." 

These instructions are not confined to territory north of 36° 30'. 
They apply, and were intended to apply, to the whole territory west 
of the Mississippi, and to all territory which might hereafter be 
acquired. They deny the right of Arkansas to admission as a slave- 
holding State, as well as Missouri. They lay down a general princi- 
ple to be applied and insisted upon everywhere, and in all cases, and 
under all circumstances. These resolutions were first adopted prior 
to the passage of the act of March 6, 1820, which the senator now 
chooses to call a compact. But they were renewed and repeated on 
the 13th of November, 1820, a little more than eight months after 
the Missouri Compromise, as instructions to the New York senators 
to resist the admission of Missouri as a slaveholding State, notwith- 
standing the stipulations in the alleged compact. Now, let me ask 
the senator from New York by what authority he declared and pub- 
lished in his speech that the act of 1820, was a compact which could 
not be violated or repudiated without a sacrifice of honor, justice 
and good faith. Perhaps he will shelter himself behind the resolu- 
tions of his State, which he presented this session, branding this bill 
as a violation of plighted faith. 

Me. Sewakd. — Will the senator allow me a word of explanation ? 

Me. Douglas. — Certainly, with a great deal of pleasure. 

Me. Sewaed. — I wish simply to say that the State of New York, 
for now thirty years, has refused to make any compact on any terms 
by which a concession should be made for the extension of slavery. 
But, by the practical action of the Congress of the United States, 
compromises have been made, which, it is held by the honorable 
Benator from Illinois and by the South, bind her against her consent 
and approval. And, therefore, she stands throughout this wholo 
matter upon the same ground — always refusing to enter into a uoir 


promise, always insisting upon the prohibition of slavery within the 
Territories of the United States. But, on this occasion, we stand 
here with a contract which has stood for 30 years, notwithstanding 
our protest and dissent, and in which there is liOthing left to be ful- 
tilled except that part which is to be beneficial to us. AH the rest has 
been fulfilled, and we stand here with our old opinions on the whole 
subject of compromises, demanding fulfillment on the part of the 
South, which the honorable senator from Illinois on the present 
occasion represents. 

Mr. Douglas. — Mr. President, the senator undoubtedly speaks for 
himself very frankly and very candidly, 

Mr. Seward. — Certainly I do. 

Mr. Douglas. — But I deny that on this point he speaks for the 
State of New York. 

Mr. Seward. — We shall see. 

Mr. Douglas. — I will state the reason why I say so. He has pre- , 
Bented here resolutions of this State of New York which have been 
adopted this year, declaring the act of March 6, 1820, to be a " solemn 

I read from the second resolution : 

" But at the same time duty to themselves and to the other States of the 
Union demands that when an effort is making to violate a solemn compact 
whereby the political power of the State and the privileg-es as well as the 
honest sentiments of its citizens will be jeoparded and invaded, they should 
raise their voice in protest against the threatened infraction of their rights, 
aad declare that the negation or repeal by Congress of the Missouri Compro- 
mise will be regarded by them as a violation of right and of faith, and destruc- 
tive of that confidence and regard which should attach to the enactment of the 
federal legislature." 

Mr. President, I cannot let the senator ofl^" on the plea that I, for 
the sake of the argument, in reply to him and other opponents of 
this bill, have called it a compact ; or that the South have called it 
a compact ; or that other friends of Nebraska have called it a com- 
pact which has been violated and rendered invalid. He and his 
abolition confederates have arraigned me for a violation of a com- 
pact, which, they say, is binding in morals, in conscience and honor. 
I have shown that the legislature of New York, at its present session, 
has declared it to be " a solemn compact," and that its repudiation 
would " be regarded by them as a violation of right, and of faith, 
and destructive of confidence and regard." I have also shown, that 
if it be such a compact, the State of New York stands self-con- 
demned and self-convicted as the first to repudiate and violate it. 

But since the senator has chosen to make an issue with me in 
respect to the action of New York, with the view of condemning my 
conduct here, I will invite the attention of the senator to another 
portion of these resolutions. Referring to the fourteenth section oi 
the Nebraska Bill, the legislature of New York says : 


" That the adoption of this provision would be in derogation of the truth, a 
gross violation of plighted faith, and an outrage and indignity upon the free 
States of the Union, whose assent has been yielded to the admission into the 
Union of Missouri and of Arkansas, with slavery, in reliance upon the faithful 
observance of the provision (now sought to be abrogated) known as the Mis- 
souri Compromise, whereby slavery was declared to be "forever prohibited 
in all that territory ceded by France to the United States, under the name of 
Louisiana, which lies north of 36° 30' north latitude, not included within the 
limits of the State of Missouri." 

I liave no comments to make npon the courtesy and propriety 
exliibited in this legislative declaration, that a provision in a bill, 
reported by a regular committee of the Senate of the United States, 
and known to be approved by three-fourths of the body, and which 
has since received the sanction of their votes, is " in derogation of 
truth, a gross violation of plighted faith, and an outrage and indig- 
nity," etc. The opponents of this measure claim a monopoly of all 
the courtesies and amenities, which should be observed among gen- 
tlemen, and especially in the performance of official duties ; and I 
am free to say that this is one of the mildest and most respectful 
forms of expression in which they have indulged. But there is a 
declaration in this resolution to which I wish to invite the particular 
attention of the Senate and the country. It is the distinct allega- 
tion that "the free States of the Union," including New York, 
yield their " assent to the admission iato the Union of Missouri and 
Arkansas, with slavery, in reliance u])on the faithful observance of 
the provision known as the Missouri Compromise." 

Now, sir, since the legislature of New York has gone out of ltd 
way to arraign the State on matters of truth, I wiii demonstrate 
that this paragraph contains two material statements in direct 
" derogation of truth," I have already shown, beyond controversy, 
by the records of the legislature and by the journals of the Sen ite, 
that New York never did give her assent to the admiesion of Mis- 
souri with slavery ! Hence, I must he permitted to say, in the 
polite language of her own resolutions, that the statement that New 
York yielded her assent to the admission of Missouri with slavery ia 
in "derogation of truth!" and, secondly, the statement that such 
assent was given " in reliance upon the faithful observance of the 
Missouri Compromise" is equally "in derogation of truth." New 
York never assented 1o the admission of Missouri as a slave State, 
never assented to what she now calls the Missouri Compromise, 
never observed its stipulations as a compact, never had been willing 
to carry it out ; but, on the contrary, has always resisted it, as I 
have demonstrated by her own records. 

Mr. President, I have before me other journals, records and in- 
structions, which prove that New York was not the only free State 
that repudiated the Missouri Compromise of 1820 within twelve 
months from its date. I will not occupy the time of the Senate at 
this late hour of the night by referring to them, unless some oppo- 
nent of the bl 1 renders it necessary. In that event, I may be able 


to place other senators and their States in the same unenviable posi- 
tion in which the senator from New York has found himself and his 

I think I have shown, that to call the act of the 6th of March, 
1820, a compact, binding in iionor, is to charsje the northern States 
of this Union with an act of perfidy unparalleled in tlie history of 
legislation or of civilization. I liave already adverted to the tacts, 
that in the summer of 1820 Missouri framed lier constitution, in con- 
formity with the act of the 6th of March ; that it was pres^ented to 
Congress at the next session ; that the Senate passed a joint resolu- 
tion declaring her to be one of the States of the Union, on an equal 
footing with the original States; and that the House of Representa- 
tives rejected it, and refused to allow her to come into the Union, 
because her constitution did not prohibit slavery. 

These facts created the necessity for a new compromise, the old 
one having failed of its object, which was, to bring Missouri into the 
Union. At this period in the order of events — in February, 1821, 
when the excitement was almo-t beyond restraint, and a great fun- 
damental principle, involving the right of the people of the new 
States to regulate their own domestic institutions, was dividing the 
Union into two great hostile parties — Henry Clay, of Kentucky, 
came forward with a new compromise, which had the effect to 
change the issue, and make the result of the controversy turn 
upon a different point. He brought in a resolution for the admission 
of Missouri into the Union, not in pursuance of the act of 1820, not 
in obedience to the underst;inding when it was adopted, and not 
with her constitution as it had been formed in conformity with that 
act, but he proposed to admit Missouri into the Union upon a "fun- 
damental condition," which condition was to be in the nature of a 
solemn compact between the United States on the one part and the 
State of Missouri on the other part, and to whicli " fundamental con- 
dition " the State of Missouri Avas required to declare her assent in 
the form of " a solemn public act." This joint resolution passed, and 
was approved March 2, 1821, and is known as Mr. Clay's Missouri 
Compromise, in contradistinction to that of 1820, which was intro- 
duced into the Senate by Mr. Thomas, of Illinois. In the month of 
June, 1821, the legislature of Missouri assembled and passed the 
'' solemn public act," and furnislied an authenticated copy thereof to 
the President of the United States, in compliance with Mr. Clay's 
compromise, or joint resolution. On August 10, 1821, James Mon- 
roe, President of the United States, issued his proclamation, in which, 
after reciting the fact that on the 2d of March, 1821, Congress had 
passed a joint resolution "providing for tlie admission of the State of 
Missouri into the Union, on a certain condition ;" and that the gece- 
ral assembly of Missouri, on the 26th of June, having, "by a solemn 
oubhc act, declared the assent of the said State of Missouri to the 
fundamei-tal condition contained in said joint resolution," and having 
furnished him with an authentic copy thereof, he, " in pursuance oj 


the resolution of Congress aforesaid,^'' declared tlie admission of Mis- 
souri to be complete. 

I do not deem it necessary to discuss the question whether the 
conditions upon which Missouri was admitted were wise or unwise. 
It is sufficient for my present purpose to remark, that the 'M'unda- 
meiital condition " of her admission related to certain clauses in the 
constitution of Missouri in respect to the migration of free negroes 
into that State ; clauses similar to those now in force in the consti- 
tutions of Illinois and Indiana, and i)erhaps other States ; clauses 
similar to the provisions of law in force at that time in many of the 
old States of the Union ; and, I will add, clauses which, in my opin- 
ion, Missouri had a right to adopt under the Constitution of the 
United States. It is no answer to tliis position to say, that those 
clauses in tlie constitution of Missouri were in violation of the Con- 
stitution. If they did conflict witli the Constitution of tlie United 
States, they were void ; if they were not in conflict, Missouri had a 
right to put them there, and to pass all laws necessary to carry tliem 
into eifect. Whether such conflict did exist is a question which, by 
tlie Constitution, can only be determined authoritatively by tlie 
Supreme Court of the United States. Congress is not the appropri- 
ate and competent tribunal to adjudicate and determine questions of 
conflict between the constitution of a State and that of the United 
States. Had Missouri been admitted without any condition or re- 
striction, she would have had an opportunity of vindicating her con- 
stitution and rights in the Supreme Court — the tribunal created by 
the Constitution for that purpose. 

By the condition imposed on Missouri, Congress not only deprived 
that State of a right wliicli she believed she possessed under the con- 
stitution of the United States, but denied her the privilege of vindi- 
cating that right in the appropriate and constitutional tribunals, by 
compelling her, " by a solemn public act," to give an irrevocable 
pledge never to exercise cr claim the right. Therefore Missouri 
came in under a humiliating condition — a condition not imposed by 
the Constitution of the United States, and which destroys the prin- 
ciple of equality which should exist, atid by the Constitution does not 
exist, between all the States of this Union. This inequality resulted 
from Mr. Clay's compromise of 1821, and is the principle upon which 
that compromise was constructed. I own that the act is couched in 
general terms and vague phrases, and therefore may possibly be so 
construed as not to deprive the State of any right she might pos- 
sess under the Constitution. Upon that point 1 wish only to say, 
that such a construction makes the '' fundamental condition " void, 
while the opposite construction would demonstrate it to be uncon- 
Btitutional. I have before me the " solemn public act" of Misoouri 
to this fundamental condition, whoever will take the trouble to 
read it will find it the richest specimen of irony and sarcasm that has 
ever been incorporated into a public act. 

Sir, in view of these facts I desire to call the attention of the spr 


ator from New York to a statement in his speed), upon which the 
greater part of his argument rested. His statement was, and it is 
now heing published in every abolition paper, and repeated by the 
whole tribe of abolition orators and lecturers, that Missouri was 
admitted as a slaveholding State, under the act of 1820 ; while I have 
shown, by the President's proclamation of August 10, 1821, that she 
was admitted in pursuance of the resolution of March 2, 1821. 
Thus it is shown that the material point of his speech is contra- 
dicted by the highest evidence — the record in the ca*e. The same 
statement I believe was made by the senator from Connecticut (Mr. 
Smith), and the senators from Ohio (Mr. Chase and Mr. Wade), and 
the senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Sumner). Each of these sena- 
tors made and repeated this statement, and upon the strength of this 
erroneous assertion called upon us to carry into effect the eighth sec- 
tion of the same act. The material fact upon which their arguments 
rested being overthrown, of course their conclusions are erroneous 
and deceptive. 

Mr. Sewaed. — I hope the senator will yield for a moment, because 
I have never had so much respect for him as I have to night. 

Me Douglas. — I see what course I have to pursue in order to com- 
mand the senator's respect. I know now how to get it. (Laughter.) 

Mr. Seward. — Any man who meets me boldly commands my res- 
pect. I say that Missouri would not not have been admittted at all 
into the Union by the United States except upon the compromise 
of 1820. When that point was settled about the restriction of sla- 
very it was settled in this way ; that slie should come in with slavery 
and that all the rest of the Louisiana purchase, which is now known 
as Nebraska, should be forever free from slavery. Missouri adopted 
a constitution, which was thought by the northern States to infringe 
upon the right of citizenship guaranteed by the Constitution of the 
United States, which was a new point altogether; and upon that 
point debate was held, and upon it a new compromise was made, and 
Missouri came into the Union upon the agreement, that, in regard tc 
tliat question, she submitted to the Constitution of the United States, 
and so she was admitted into the Union. 

Mr. Douglas. — Mr. President, I must remind the senator again 
tliat I have already proven that he was in error in stating that the 
North objected to the admission of Missouri merely on account of the 
free-negro clause in her constitution. I have proven by the vote 
that the North objected to her admission because sba toierated sla- 
very; this objection was sustained by the North by a vote of nearly 
two to one. He cannot shelter himself, therefore, under the free- 
negro dodge, so long as there is a distinct vote of the North objecting 
to lier admission ; because, in addition to complying with the act of 
1820, she did not also prohibit slavery, which was the only consider- 
ation that the South was to have for agreeing to the prohibition of 
tilavery in the Territories, Then, having deprived the senator, by 
conclusive evidence from the records, of that pretext, what do 1 dri'r* 


him to ? I compel liim to acknowledge that a new compromise was 

Mr. Seward. — Certainly there was. 

Mb. Douglas. — Then, I ask, wliy was it made? Because the 
North would not carry out the first one. And the best evidence 
tliat the North did not carry out the first one is the senator's admis- 
sion that the South was compelled to submit to a new one. Then, if 
tliere was a new compromise made, did Missouri come in under the 
new one or the old one? 

Mr. Skwaed. — Under both. 

Mr. Douglas. — Tliis is the first time, in this debate, it has been 
intimated that Missouri came in under two acts of Congress. The 
senator did not allude to tlie resolution of 1821 in his speech; none 
of the opponents of this bill have said it. But it is now admitted 
that she did not come into tlie Union under the act of 1820 alone. 
She had been voted out under the first compromise, and this vote 
compelled her to make a new one, and she came in under the new 
one ; and yet the senator from New York, in his speech, declared to 
the world that she came in ui>der tlie first one. This is not an imraa!- 
terial question. His whole speech rests upon that misapprehension or 
misstatement of the record. 

Mr. Seward. — You had better say misapprehension. 

Mr. Douglas. — Very well. "We will call it by that name. His 
whole argument depends upon that misapprehension. After stating 
that the act of 1820 was a compact, and that the North performed its 
part of it in good faith, he arraigns the friends of this bill for propos- 
ing to annul the eighth section of the act of 1820 without first turn- 
ing Missouri out of the Union, in order that slavery may be abo- 
lished therein by the act of Congress. He says to us, in substance: 
''Gentlemen, if you are going to rescind the compact, have respect 
for that great law of morals, of honesty, and of conscience which 
compels you first to surrender the consideration which you have 
received 'under the compact.'" I concur with him in regard to 
the obligation to restore the consideration when a contract is 
rescinded. And inasmuch as the prohibition in the Territories north 
of 36° 30' was obtained, according to his own statement, by an 
agreement to admit Missouri as a slaveholding State on an equal 
footing with the original States, " in all respects whatsoever," as spe- 
cified in the first section of the act of 1820; and, inasmuch as 
Missouri was refused admission under said act, and was compelled to 
submit to a new compromise in 1821, and was then received into the 
Union on a fundamental condition of inequality, I call on him and 
his abolition confederates to restore the consideration which they 
have received, in the shape of a prohibition of slavery north of 36° 
30', under a compromise which they repudiated, and refused to carr} 
into eflfect. I call on them to correct the erroneous statement iii 
respect to the admission of Missouri, and to make a restitution of 
the consideration by voting for this bill. I repeat, that this ia not 


an immaterial statement. It is the point upon which the abolitionists 
rest their whole argument. They could not get up a show of pre- 
text against the great principle of self-government involved in this 
bill, if they could not repeat all the time, as the senator from New 
York did in his speecli, that Missouri came into the Union witli 
slavery, in conformity to the compact which was made by the act 
of 1820, and that the South, having received the consideration, is 
now trying to cheat the North out of her part of the benefits. I 
have proven that, after abolitionism had gained its points so far as | 
the eiglith section of the act prohibited slavery in the Territory, ' 
Missouri was denied admission by northern votes until she entered 
into a compact by wliich she was understood to surrender an impor- 
tant riglit now exercised by several States of the Union. 

Mr. President, I did not wish to refer to these things. I did not 
understand them fully in all their bearings at the time I made my 
first speech on this subject; and, so far as I was familiar with them, 
I made as little reference to them as was consistent with my duty ; 
because it was a mortifying reflection to me, as a northern man, tliat 
we had not been able, in consequence of the abolition excitement 
at the time, to avoid the appearance of bad faith in the observance 
of legislation, which has been denominated a compromise. There 
were a few men then, as there are now, who had the moral counige 
to perform their duty to the country and the Constitution, regardless 
of consequences personal to themselves. There were teii northern 
men who dared to perform their duty by voting to admit Ivlissouri 
into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, and with 
no other restriction than that imposed by the Constitution. I am 
aware that they were abused and denounced as we are now ; that 
they were branded as dough-faces, traitors to freedom, and to the 
section of the country whence they come. 

Mk. Geyer. — They honored Mr. Lanman, of Connecticut, by burn- 
ing him in efiigy. 

Mk. Doug-las.— Yes, sir ; these abolitionists honored Mr. Lanman 
in Connecticut just as they are honoring me in Boston, and other 
places, by burning me in effigy. 

Mr. Cass. — It will do you no harm. 

Me. Douglas. — Well, sir, I know it will not ; but why this burning 
in effigy? It is the legitimate consequences of the address which 
was sent forth to the world by certain senators, whom I denominated, 
on a former occasion, as the abolition confederates. The senator 
from Ohio presented here the other day a resolution — he says unin- 
tentionally, and I take it so — declaring that every senator who advo- 
cated this bill was a traitor to his country, to humanity, and to God ; 
and even he seemed to be shocked at the results of his own advice 
when it was exposed. Yet he did not seem to know that it was, in 
Bubstance, what he had advised in his address, over his own signa- 
ture, when he called upon the people to assemble in public meetings 
and thunder forth their indignation at the criminal betrayal of pre- 


clous rights; when he appealed to ministers of the Gospel tc flesecrata 
their holy calling, and attempted to inflame passions, and fanaticism, 
and prejudice against senators who would not consider themselves 
very highly complimented by being called bis equals? And yet, when 
the natural consequences of his own action and advice came back 
upon him, and he presents them here, and is called to an account for 
the indecency of the act, he professes his profound regret and surprise 
that anything should have occurred which could possibly be deemed 
unkind or disrespectful to any member of this body ! 

The senator's explanation does not help him at all. He says he 
did not state under what act Missouri came in ; but he did say, as I 
understood him, that the act of 1820 was a compact, and that, accord- 
ing to that compact, Missouri was to come in with slavery, provided 
slavery should be prohibited in certain Territories, and did come in 
in pursuance of the compact. He now uses the word " compact." 
To what compact does he allude ? Is it not to the act of 1820 ? If he 
did not, what becomes of his conclusion that the eighth section of that 
act is irrepealable? He will not venture to deny that his reference 
was to the act of 1820. Did he refer to the joint resolution of 1821, 
under which Missouri was admitted? If so, we do not propose to 
repeal it. We admit that it was a compact, and that its obligations 
are irrevocably fixed. But that joint resolution does not prohibit 
slavery in the Territories. The Nebraska Bill does not propose to 
repeal it, or impair its obligation in any way. Then, sir, why not 
take back your correction, and admit that you did luean tlie act of 
1820, when you spoke of irrevocable obligations and compacts? 
Assuming then, that the senator meant what he is now unwilling 
either to admit or deny, even while professing to correct me, that 
Missouri came in under the act of 1820, I aver that I have proven 
that she did not come into the Union under that act. I have proven 
that she was refused admission under that alleged compact. I 
have, therefore, proven incontestably that the material statement 
upon which his argument rests is wholly without foundation, and 
unequivocally contradicted by tlie record. 

Sir, I believe I may say the same of every speech which has been 
made against tlie bill, upon the ground that it impared the obligation 
of compacts. There has not been an argument against the measure, 
every word of which in regard to the faith of compacts is not con- 
tradicted by the public records. What I complain of is this: The 
people may think that a senator, having the laws and journals before 
him, to which he could refer, would not make a statement in contra- 
diction of those records. They make the people believe these things, 
and cause them to do groat injustice to others, under th.e delusion 
that they have been wronged, and their feelings outraged. Sir, this 
address did for a time mislead the whole country. It made the legis- 
lature of New York believe that the act of 1820 was. a compact which 
it would be disgraceful »o violate ; and, acting under that delusioK, 


they framed a series of resolutions, wliicli, if true and just, convict 
that State oi p.n act of perfidy and treachery unparalleled in the his- 
tory of free gort'rnraents. You see, theiefore, the consequence of 
these misstatements. You degrade your own State, and induce the 
people, under the impression that they have been injured, to get up 
a violent crusade against those wliose fidelity and truthfulness will in 
the end command their respect and admiration. In consequence of 
arousing passions and prejudices, I am now to be found in eflSgy. 
hanging by the neck, in all the towns where you have the influence 
to produce such a result. In all these excesses, the people are yield- 
ing to an honest impulse, under the impression that a grievous 
wrong has been perpetrated. You have had your day of triumph. 
You have succeeded in directing upon the heads of others a torrent 
of insult and calumny from which even you shrink with horror, wheu 
the fact is exposed tliat you have become the conduits for conveying 
it into this hall. In your State, sir (addressing himself to Mr. Chase) 
I find I am burnt in effigy in your abohtion towns. All this is done 
because I have proposed, as it is said, to violate a compact! Now, 
what will those people think of you when they find out that you 
have stimulated them to these acts, which are disgraceful to your 
State, disgraceful to your party, and disgraceful to your cause, under 
a misrepresentation of the facts, which misrepresentation you ought 
to have been aware of, and should never have been made. 

Me. Chase. — "Will the senator permit me to say a few words ? 

Mb. Douglas. — Certainly, 

Me. Chase. — Mr. President, I certainly regret that anything has 
occurred in my State whicli should be otherwise than in accordance 
with the disposition which I trust T have ever manifested to treat 
the senator from Illinois witli entire courtesy. I do not wish, how- 
ever, to be understood, here or elsewhere, as retracting any state- 
ment wliich I have made, or being unwilling to reassert that state- 
ment when it is directly impeached. I regard the admission of Mis- 
souri, and the facts of the transaction connected with it, as constitut- 
ing a compact between the two sections of the country ; a part of 
which was fulfilled in the admission of Missouri, another part in the 
admission of Arkansas, and other parts of which have been fulfilled in 
the admission of Iowa, and the organization of Minnesota, but which 
yet remains to be fulfilled in respect to the Territory of ITebraska, 
and which, in my judgment, will be vioalated by the repeal of the 
Missouri prohibition. That is my judgment. I have no quarrel with 
senators who diflTer with me ; but upon the whole facts of the trans- 
action, however, I have not changed my opinion at all, in conse- 
quence of what has been said by the honorable senator from Illinois. 
I say that the facts of the transaction, taken together, and as under- 
stood by the country for more than thirty years, constitute a com- 
pact binding in moral force ; though, as I have always said, being 
embodied in a legislative act, it may be repealed by Congress, if Con- 
gress see fit. 


Me. Do^tglas. — Mr President, I am sorry that the senator from 
kJiio has repeated the statement that Missouri came in under the 
compact which he says was made hy the act of 1820. How many 
times have I to disprove the statement? Does not tlie vote to whicli 
I have referred sliow that such was not the case? Does not the fact 
that there was a necessity for a new compromise sliow it ? Have I 
Qot proved it three times over? and is it possible that the senator 
from Ohio will repeat it in the face of the record, with the vote star- 
ing him in the face, and with the evidence which I have produced ? 
Does he suppose that he can make his own people believe that his 
Ktatement ought to be credited in opposition to the solemn record ? 
I am amazed that the senator should repeat the statement again 
unsustained by the fact, by the record, and by the evidence, and 
overwhelmed by the whole current and weight of the testimony 
which I have produced. 

The senator s^ays, also, that he never intended to do me injustice, 
and he is sorry that the people of his State have acted in the manner 
to which I have referred. Sir, did he not say, in the same document 
to whicli I have already alluded, that I was engaged, with others, in 
"a criminal betrayal of precious rights," in an "atrocious plot?" 
Did he not say that I and others were guilty of " meditated bad 
faith ?" Are not these liis exact words ? Did he not say that " ser- 
vile demagogues" might make the people believe certain things, or 
attempt to do so ? Did he not say everything calculated to produce 
and bring upon my head all the insnlts to which I have been sub- 
jected publicly and privately — not even excepting the insulting let- 
ters which I have received from his constituents, rejoicing at my 
domestic bereavements, and praying that other and similar calami- 
ties may befall me ? All these have resulted from that address. I 
expected such consequences wlien I first saw it. In it he called upon 
the preachers of the Gospel to prostitute the sacred desk in stimu- 
lating excesses; and then, for fear that the people would not know 
who it was that was to be insulted and calumniated, he told them, 
in a postscript, that Mr. Douglas was the author of all this iniquity, 
and that they ought not to allow their rights to be made the hazard 
of a Presidential game! After having used such language, he says 
meant no disrespect — he meant nothing unkind ! He was amazed 
that I said in my opening speech that there was anything offensive 
in this address ; and he could not suffer himself to use harsh epithets, 
or to impugn a gentleman's motives! No I not he! After having 
deliberately written all these insults, impugning motive and charac- 
ter, and calling upon our holy religion to sanctify the calumny, ho 
could not think of losing his dignity by bandying epithets, or using 
harsh and disrespectful terms ! 

Mr. President, 1 expected all that has occurred, and more than 
has come, as the legitimate result of that address. The things to 
which I referred are the natural consequences of it. The only re- 
Tenge I seek is to expose the authors, and leave them to bear, as be?t 


ihey may, the just indignation of ar. honest community, "wlien th« 
people discover how their sympatliies and feelings have been out- 
raged, by making them the instruments in performing such desper- 
ate acts. 

Sir, even,in Boston 1 have been hung in effigy. I may say that I 
expected it to occur even there, for the senator from Massachusetts 
lives there. He signed his name to that address; and for fear the 
Boston abolitionists would not know that it was he, he signed it 
" Charles Sumner, senator from Massachusetts." The first outrage 
was in Ohio, where the address was circulated under the signature 
of '' Salmon P. Chase, senator from Ohio." The next came from 
Boston — the same Boston, sir, which, under the direction of the 
same leaders, closed Faneuil Hall to the immortal Webster in 1850, 
because of his support of the Compromise measures of that year, 
which all now confess have restored peace and harmony to a dis- 
tracted country. Yes, sir, even Boston, so glorious in her early his- 
tory — Boston, around whose name so many historical associations 
cling, to gratify the heart and exalt the pride of every American — 
could be led astray by abolition misrepresentations so far as to deny 
a hearing to her own great man, who had shed so much glory upon 
Massachusetts and her metropolis! I know that Boston now feels 
humiliated and degraded by the act. And, sir (addressing himself to 
Mr. Sumner), you will remember that when you came into the Sen- 
ate, and sought an opportunity to put forth your abolition incendi- 
arism, you appealed to our sense of justice by the sentiment, "Strike, 
but hear me first." But when Webster went back in 1850 to speak 
to his constituents in his own self-defence, to tell the truth, and to 
expose his slanderers, you would not hear him, but you struck jtrat ! 

Again, sir, even Boston, with her Faneuil Hall consecrated to 
liberty, was so far led astray by abolitionism, that when one of her 
gallant sons — gallant by his own glorious deeds, inlieriting a heroic 
Revolutionary name, had given his life to his country upon the bloody 
field of Buena Vista; and when his remains were brought home, 
even that Boston, under abolition guidance and abolition preaching, 
denied him a decent burial, because he lost his life in vindicating his 
country's honor upon the southern frontier ! Even the name of Lin- 
coln, and the deeds of Lincoln, could not secure for him a decent 
interment, because abolitionism follows a patriot beyond the grave. 
(Applause in the galleries.) 

The Peesiding Officer (Me. Mason in the chair). — Order must 
be preserved. 

Me. Douglas. — Mr. President, with these facts before me, how 
could I hope to escape the fate which had followed these great and 
good men ? While I had no right to hope that I might be honored as 
they had been, under abolition auspices, have I not a right to be 
proud of the distinction and the association ? Mr. President, I regret 
these digressions. I have not been able to follow the line of argu- 
ment which I had marked out for myself, because of the many inter- 


fnptions, I do not complain of them. It is fair that gentlemen 
should make them, inasmuch as they have not the opportunity oi 
replying; hence I have yielded the floor, and propose to do so cheer- 
fully whenever any senator intimates that justice to him or his posi- 
tion requires him to say anything in reply. 

Returning to the poi'nt from which I was diverted : 

I think I have shown that. If the act of 1826, called the Missouri 
Compromise, was a compact, it was violated and repudiated hy a 
solemn vote of the House of Representatives in 1821, within eleven 
months after it was adopted. It was repudiated by the North by a 
majority vote, and that repudiation was so complete and successful as 
to compel Missouri to make a new compromise, and she was brought 
into the Union under the new comprt)mise of 1821, and not under 
the act of 1820. This reminds me of another point made in nearly 
all the speeclies against this bill, and, if I recollect right, was alluded 
to in the abolition manifesto; to which, I regret to say, I had occa- 
sion to refer so often. I refer to the significant hint that Mr. Clay 
was dead before any one dared to bring forward a proposition to 
undo the greatest work of his hands. The senator from New York 
(Mr. Seward) has seized upon this insinuation, and elaborated it, per- 
haps, more fully than his compeers; and now the abolition press 
suddenly, and as if by miraculous conversion, teems with eulogies 
upon Mr Clay and his Missouri Compromise of 1820. 

Now, Mr. President, does not each of these senators know that Mr. 
Clay was not the author of the act of 1820? Do they not know that 
he disclaimed it in 1850 in this body ? Do they not know that the 
Missouri restriction did not originate in the house of which he was a 
member? Do they not know that Mr. Clay never came into the Mis- 
souri controversy as a compromiser until after the compromise of 
1820 was repudiated, and it became necessary to make another ? I 
dislike to be compelled to repeat what I have conclusively proven, 
that the compromise which Mr Clay effected was the act of 1821, un- 
der which Missouri came into the Union, and not the act of 1820. 
Mr. Clay made that compromise after you had repudiated the first 
one. How, then, dare you call upon the spirit of that great and gal- 
lant statesman to sanction your charge of bad faith against the South 
on this question ? 

Me. Sewaed. — Will the senator allow me a moment? 

Me. Douglas. — Certainly. 

Me. Sewaed.— In the year 1851 or 1852, 1 think 1851, a medal was 
struck in honor of Henry Clay, of gold, which cost a large sum of 
money, which contained eleven acts of the life of Henry Clay, It 
was presented to him by a committee of citizens of New York, by 
whom it had been made. One of the eleven acts of his life which 
was celebrated on that medal, which he acceptetl, was the Missouri 
Compromise of 1820. Tlii« is my answer. 

Mb. Douglas. — Are the words " of 1820 " upon it? _ 

Me. Sewaed. — It commemorates the Missouri Compromise. 


Mr. Dotr&LAS. — Exactly. I have seen tljat medal ; and my reco 
lection is that it does not contain the words " of 1820." One of the 
great acts of Mr. Clay was the Missouri Compromise, but what Mis 
Bouri Compromise? Of course, the one which Henry Clay made, the 
one which he negotiated, the one which brought Missouri into the 
Union, and which settled the controversy. That was the act of 1821, 
and not the act of 1820. It tends to confirm the statement whicli I 
have made. History is misread and misquoted, and these statements 
have been circulated and disseminated broadcast through the country, 
concealing the truth. Does not the senator know that Henry Clay, 
when occupying that seat in 1850 (pointing to Mr. Clay's chair), in 
his speech of the 6th of February of that year, said that nothing had 
Btruck him with so much surprise as the fact that historical circum- 
stances soon passed out of recollection ; and he instanced, as a casein 
point, the error of attributing to him the act of 1820. (Mr. Seward 
Dodded assent.) The senator from New York says that he does 
remember that Mr. Clay did say so. If so, how is it, then, that he 
presumes now to rise and quote that medal as evidence that Henry 
Clay was the author of the act of 1820? 

Me. Skwaed. — I answer the senator in this way : that Henry Clay, 
while he said he did not disavow or disapprove of thatuiompromise, 
transferred the merit of it to others who were more active in procur- 
ing it than he, while he had enjoyed the praise and the glory which 
were due from it. 

Mr. Douglas. — To that I have only to say, that it cannot be the 
reason; for Henry Clay, in that same speech, did take to himself the 
merit of the compromise of 1821, and hence it could not have been 
modesty which made him disavow the other. He said that he did 
not know whether he had voted for the act of 1820 or not; but he 
supposed that he had done so. He furthermore said that it did not 
originate in the house of which he was a member, and that he never 
did approve of its principles; but that he may have voted, and pro- 
bably did vote for it, under the pressure of the circumstances. 

Now, Mr. President, as I have been doing justice to Mr. Clay on 
this question, perhaps I may as well do justice to another great man, 
who was associated with him in carrying through the great measures 
of 1850, which mortified the senator from New York so much, 
because they defeated his purpose of carrying on the agitation. I 
allude to Mr. Webster. The authority of his great name has been 
quoted for the purpose of proving that he regarded the Missouri Act 
as a compact — an irrepealable compact. Evidently the distinguished 
senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Everett) supposed that he was doing 
Mr. Webster entire justice when he quoted the passage which he read 
from Mr. Webster's speech of the 7th of March, 1850, when he said 
that he stood upon the position that every part of the American con- 
tinent was fixed for freedom or for slavery by irrepeakble law. 

The senator says that, by the expression "irrepealable law," Mr. 
Webst«r meant to include the compromise of 1820. Now, I will 


iiow that that w^as not Mr. Web.-ter's ineauing — tliat he was never 
guilty of the mistake of saying that the Missouri Act of 1820 was an 
irrepeahible law. Mr. Webster said in that speech, that every fooi 
of territory in the United States was fixed as to its character for free-- 
do'n or slavery by an irrepealable law. He then inquired if it was 
not so in regard to Texas? He went on to prove tliat it was ; be- 
cause, he said, there was a compact in express terms between Texas 
and the United States. He said the parties were capable of contract- 
ing, and that there was a valuable consideration ; and hence, he con- 
tended, that in that case there was a contract binding in honor, and 
morals, and law ; and that it was irrepealable without a breach of 

He went on to say: 

" Now, as to California and New Mexico, I hold slavery to be excluded from 
those Territories by a law even superior to that which admits and sanctions it 
jn Texas — I mean the law of nature, of physical geography, the law of the 
formation of the earth." 

That was the irrepealable law which he said prohibited slavery in 
the Territories of Utah and New Mexico. He next went on to speak 
of the prohibition of slavery in Oregon, and he said it vv^as an "en- 
tirely useless, and, in that connection, senseless proviso." 

He went further, and said : 

" That the whole territory of the States in the United States, or In the 
newly-acquired territory of the United States, has a fixed and settled character, 
now fixed and settled by law, which cannot be repealed in the case of Texas 
without a violation of public faith, and cannot be repealed by any human 

S)ower in regard to California or New Mexico ; that, under one or other of these 
aws, every foot of territoi-y in the States, or in the Territories, has now 
received a fixed and decided character." 

"What irrepealable laws? "One or the other " of those which he 
had stated. One was the Texas compact, the other the law of nature 
and physical geography ; and he contended that one or the other 
fixed the character of the whole American continent for freedom or 
for slavery. He never alluded to the Missouri Compromise, unless it 
was by the allusion to the Wilmot Proviso in the Oregon Bill, and 
there he said it was a useless, and, in that connection, seaseless 
tiling. Why was it a useless and a senseless thing ? Because it was 
re-enacting the law of God; because slavery had already been pro- 
hibited by physical geography. Sir, that was the meaning of Mr. 
Webster's speech. My distinguished friend from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Everett), when he reads the speech again, will be utterly amazed to 
see how he fell into such an egregious error as to suppose that Mr, 
Webster had so far fallen from his high position as to say that the 
Missouri Act of 1820 was an irrepealable law. 

Me. Eveeett. — Will the gentleman give way for a moment? 

Me. Douglas. — With great pleasure. 

Mb. Evebetx. — What I said on that subject was, that Mr. We'jj/dr 


in my opinion, considered the Missouri Compromise as of the nature 
of a compact. It is true, as the senator from Illinois has just stated, 
that Mr. Webster made no allusion, in express terms, to the subject 
of the Missouri restriction. But I thought then, and I think now 
that he referred in general terms to that as a final settlement of the 
question, in the region to which it applied. It was not drawn in 
question then on either side of the House. Nobody suggested that 
it was at stake. !Robody intimated that there was a question before the 
Senate whether that restriction should be repealed or should remain in 
force. It was not distinctly, and in terms, alluded to, as the gentle- 
man correctly says, by Mr. Webster or anybody else. What he said 
in reference to Texas, applied to Texas alone. What he said in refer- 
ence to Utah and New Mexico, applied to them alone ; and what ho 
said with regard to Oregon, to that Territory alone. But he stated 
in general terms, and four or five times, in the speech of the 7th of 
March, 1850, that there was not a foot of land in the United States 
or its Territories, the character of which, for freedom of slavery, was 
not fixed by some irrepealable law ; and I did think then, and 1 
think now, that by the '' irrepealable law," as far as concerned the 
territory north of 36° 30' and included in the Louisiana purchase, 
Mr. Webster had reference to the Missouri restriction, as regarded as 
of the nature of a compact. That restriction was copied from one 
of the provisions of the Ordinance of 1787, which are declared in 
that instrument itself to be articles of compact. The Missouri 
restriction is the article of the Ordinance of 1787 applied to the 
Louisiana purchase. That this is the correct interpretation of Mr. 
Webster's language, is confirmed by the fact that he said more than 
once, and over again, that all the North lost by the arrangement of 
1859, was the nou -imposition of the Wilmot Proviso upon Utah and 
New Mexico. If, in addition to that, the North had lost the Missouri 
restriction over the whole of the Louisiana purchase, could he have 
used language of that kind, and would he not have attempted, in 
some way or other, to reconcile such a momentous fact with his 
repeated statements that the measures of 1850 applied only to the 
territories newly acquired from Mexico ? 

Me. Douglas. — Mr. President, I will explain that matter very 
quickly. Mr. Webster's speech was made on the 7th of March, 1850, 
and the Territorial bills and the Texas boundary bill were first re- 
ported to the Senate by myself on tlie 25th of the same month. Mr. 
Webster's speech was made upon Mr. Clay's resolution, when there 
was no bill pending. Then the Omnibus Bill was formed about the 
1st of May subsequently; and hence this explains the reason why 
Mr. Webster did not refer to the principle involved in these acts, and 
to the necessary eftect of carrying out the principle. 

Mr. Eveeett. — The expression of Mr. Webster, which I quoted in 
my remarks on the 8th of February, was from a speech of Mr. Soule's 
amendment, ofiered, I think, in June. In addition to this, I have 
before me an extract from a still later speech of Mr. Webster, made 


qnite lat<; in the session, on the iTth of Julj, 1850, in which he reit- 
erated that J,tatement, In it he said : 

"And no\v, sir, what do Massachusetts and the North, the anti-slavery States, 
lose bj' this adjustment ? What is it they lose ? I put that question to eve ry 
gentleman here, and to every gentleman in the country. They lose the ap] li 
jation of what is called the ' Wilmot Proviso' to these Territories, and thai is 
all. There is nothmg else, I suppose, that the whole North are not ready to • lo. 
They wish to get California into the Union ; they wish to quiet New Mexic o ; 
they desire to terminate the dispute about the Texan boundary in any rea:i en- 
able manner, cost what it reasonably may. They make no sacrifice in all t» at. 
What they do sacrifice is exactly this : The application of the ' Wilmot Prov so' 
to the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah, and that is all. ' 

Could Mr. Webster have used language like this if he had unc er- 
stood that, at the same time, the non-slaveholding States were losing 
the Missouri restriction, as applied to the whole vast territory in- 
cluded in the bills now before the Senate ? 

Mr. Douglas. — Of course that was all, and if he regarded the Mis- 
souri prohibition in the same light that he did the Oregon prohibi- 
tion, it was a useless, and, in that connection, a senseless proviso ; 
and hence the North lost nothing by not having that same senseless, 
useless proviso applied to Utah and New Mexico. Now, to show the 
senator that he must be mistaken as to Mr. Webster's authority, let 
me call his attention back to this passage in his Yth of March speech : 

" Under one or other of these laws, every foot of territory in the States or 
Territories has now received a fixed and decided character." 

What laws did he refer to when he spoke of " one or other of these 
laws?" He had named but two, the Texas compact and the law of 
nature, of climate, and physical geography, which excluded slavery. 
He had mentioned none other; and yet he says "one or other" pro- 
hibited slavery in all the States or Territories — thus including Ne- 
braska, as well as Utah and New Mexico. 

Me. Eveeett. — That was not drawn in question at all. 

Mr. Douglas. — Then if it was not drawn in question, the speech 
should not have been quoted in support of the Missouri Compromise. 
It is just what I complain of, that, if it was not thus drawn in ques- 
tion, that use ought not to have been made of it. Now, Mr. Presi- 
dent, it is well-known that Mr. Webster supported the Compromise 
measures of 1850, and the principle involved in them, of leaving tlie 
people to do as thty pleased upon this subject. I think, therefore, 
that I have shown that these gentlemen are not authorized to quote 
the name either of Mr. Webster or Mr. Clay in snpj/ort of the posi- 
tion which they take, that this bill violates the faith of conipucts. 
Sir, it was because Mr. Webster went for giving the people in the 
Territories the right to do as they pleased upon the subject of slavery, 
and because he was in favor of carrying out the Constitution in re- 
gard to fugitive slaves, that he was not allowed tc speak in J'aneuiJ 


Mb. Everett. — That was ndt my fault. 

Mb. Douglas. — I know it was not ; but I say it was because h« 
took that position ; it was because he did not go for a prohibitory 
policy ; it was because he advocated the same principles which I now 
advocate, because he went for the same provisions in the Utah Bill 
which I now sustain in this bill, that Boston abolitionists turned 
their backs upon him, just as they burnt me in effigy. Sir, if identity 
of principle, if identity of support as friends, if identity of enemies' 
fix Mr. Webster's position, his authority is certainly with us, and not 
with the abolitionists. I have a right, therefore, to have the sympa- 
thies of his Boston friends with me, as I sympathized with him wher 
the same principle was involved. 

Mr. President, I am sorry that I have taken up so much time ; but 
I must notice one or two points more. So much has been said about 
the Missouri Compromise Act, and about a faithful compliance with 
it by the North, that I must follow that matter a, little further. The 
senator from Ohio (Mr. Wade) has referred, to-night, to the fact that 
I went for carrying out the Missouri Compromise in the Texas reso- 
lutions of 1845, and in 1848, on several occasions; and he actually 
proved that I never abandoned it until 1850. He need not have 
taken the pains to prove that fact ; for he got all his information on 
the subject from my opening speech upon this bill. I told you then 
that I was willing, as a northern man, in 1845, when the Texas ques- 
tion arose, to carry the Missouri Compromise line through that State, 
and in 1848 I offered it as an amendment to the Oregon Bill. Al- 
though I did not like the principle involved in that act, yet I was 
willing, for the sake of harmony, to extend to the Pacific, and abide 
by it in good faith, in order to avoid the slavery agitation. The 
Missouri Compromise was defeated then by the same class of politi- 
cians who are now combined in opposition to the Nebraska Bill. It 
was because we were unable to carry out that compromise, that a 
necessity existed for making a new one in 1850. And then we estab- 
lished this great principle of self-government which lies at the foun- 
dation of all our institutions. What does his charge amount to ? 
He charges it, as a matter of offence, that I struggled in 1845 and in 
1848 to observe good faith ; and he and his associates defeated my 
purpose, and deprived me of the ability to carry out what he now 
says is the plighted faith of the nation. 

Sir, as I have said, the South were willing to agree to the Missouri 
Compromise in 1848. When it was proposed by me to the Oregon 
Bill, as an amendment, to extend that line to the Pacific, the South 
agreed to it. The Senate adopted that proposition, and the House 
voted it down. In 1850, after the Omnibus Bill had broken down, 
and we proceeded to pass the Compromise measures separatelv, I 
proposed, when the Utah Bill was under discussion, to make a slight 
variation of the boundary of that Territory, so as to include the Mor- 
mon settlements, and not with reference to any other question ; and 
it, was suggested that we shouli' take the line of 36° 30'. That would 


tia?e accomplished the local objects of the amendment very well. 
But when I proposed it, what did these freesoilers say ? What did 
the senator from New Hampshire (Mr. Hale), who was then theii 
.'eader in this body, say ? Here are his words : 

" Mr. Hale. — I wish to say a word as a reason why I shall vote against the 
amendment. I shall vote against 36° 30'. because I think there is an implica 
tion in it. (Laughter.) I will vote for 37° or 36° either, just as it is conve 
nient ; but it is idle to shut our eyes to the fact that here is an attempt in thik 
bill — I will not say it is the intention of the mover — to pledge this Senate ana 
Congress to the imaginary line of 36° 30', because there are some historical 
recollections connected with it in regard to this controversy about slavery. I 
will content m\'self with saying that I never will, by vote or speech, admit or 
submit to anything that may bind the action of our legislation here to make 
the parallel of 36° 30' the boundary line between slave and free territory. And 
when I say that, I explain the reason why I go against the amendment." 

These remarks of Mr. Hale were not made on a proposition to ex- 
tend the Missouri Compromise Ime to the Pacific, but on a proposition 
to fix 30° 30' as the southern boundary line of Utah, for local rea- 
sons. He was against it because there might be, as he said, an impli- 
cation growing out of historical recollections in favor of the imaginary 
line between slavery and freedom. Does that look as if his object 
was to get an implication in favor of preserving sacred this line, in 
regard to which gentlemen now say there was a solemn compact ? 
That proposition may illustrate what I wish to say in this connection 
upon a point which has been made by the opponents of this bill, as 
to the elfect of an amendment inserted on the motion of the senator 
from Virginia (Mr. Mason), into the Texas Boundary Bill. The oppo- 
nents of this measure rely upon that ameudment to show that the 
Texas compact was preserved by the aria of 1850. I have already 
shown, in my former speech, that the object of the amendment was 
to guaranty to the State of Texas, wich her circumscribed boundaries, 
the same number of States which she would have had under her 
larger boundaries, and with the same right to come in with or with- 
out slavery, as they please. 

We have been told over and over again that there Y/as no such 
iLing intimated in debate as that the country cut off from Texas was 
to be relieved from the stipulation of that compromise. This has 
i-«?en asserted boldly and unconditionally, as if there could be no 
Goubt about it. The senator from Georgia (Mr, Toombs), in his 
speech, showed that, in his address to his constituents of that State, 
^e had proclaimed to the world that the object was to establish a 
principle wlii^^ii would allow the people to decide the question of 
slavery for themselves, north as well as south of -36° 30'. The line 
of 36° 30' was voted down as the boundary of Utah, so that there 
should i-ot be even an implication in favor of an imaginary line- to 
divide n eedom and slavery. Subsequently, when the Texas Boun- 
dary Bill was under consideration, on the next day after the amend- 
ment of the senator from Virginia had been adopted, thft reiford 

"^^ 23 


•' Mb. Sebastian moved to add to the second article the following : 
" ' On the condition that the territory hereby ceded may be, at the prop?* 
time, formed into a Sta-te. and admitted into the Union, with a conatitution 
with or without the prohibition of slaverj' therein, as the people of the said 
Territory may at the time determine.' " 

Then the senator from Arkansas did propose that the territory cut 
off should be relieved from that restriction in express terms, and 
allowed to come in according to the principles of this bill. What 
vras done ? The debate continued : 

"Mr. Foote. — ^Will my friend allow me to appeal to him to move this 
amendment when the Territorial Bill for New Mexico shall be up for consider- 
ation ? It will certainly be a part of that bill, and I shall then vote for it with 
pleasure. Now it will only embarrass our action." 

Let it be remarked, that no one denied the propriety of the provi- 
sion. All seemed to acquiesce in the principle ; but it was thought 
better to insert it in the Territorial bills, as we are now doing, instead 
of adding it to the Texas Boundary Bill. The debate proceeded : 

" Mr. Sebastian. — ^My only object in offering the amendment is to secure 
the assertion of this principle beyond a doubt. The principle was acquiesced 
in without difficulty in regard to the Territorial government established for 
Utah, a part of this acquired territory, and it is proper, m my opinion, that it 
should be incorporated in this bill. 

"Messrs. Cass, Foote, and others. — Oh, withdraw it. 

" Mr. Sebastiak. — I think this is the proper place for it. It is uncertain 
whether it will be incorporated in the other bill referred to, and the bill itself 
may not pass." 

It will be seen that the debate goes upon the supposition that the 
effect was to release tlie country north of 36° 30' from the obligation 
of tlie prohibition ; and the only question, was whether the declara- 
tion that it should be received into tlie Union "with or without 
slavery," should be inserted in tlie Texas Bill or the Territorial Bih. 

The debate was continued, and I will read one or two other pas- 
sages : 

" Mr. Foote. — I wish to state to the senator a fact of which, I think, he is 
not observant at this moment ; and that is, that the senator from Virginia has 
introduced an amendment, which is now a part of the bill, which recognizes 
the Texas compact of annexation in every respect. 

"Mr. Sebastian. — I was aware of the effect of the amendment of the sena- 
tor from Virginia. It is in regard to the number of States to be formed out 
of Texas, and is referred to only in general terms." 

Thus it will be seen that the senator from Arkansas then explained 
the amendment of the senator from Virginia, which had been 
adopted, in precisely the same way in which I explained it in my 
opening speech. The senator from Arkansas continued: 

" If this amendment be the same as that offered by the senator from Vi^ 
ginia, there can certainly be no harm in reaffirming it in this bill, to which 1 
think it properly belongs." 



Thus it. will be seen that nobody disputed that the restriction was 
to be removed; and the only question was, as to the bill in which 
that declaration would be put. It seems, from the record, that I 
took part in the debate, and said : 

"Mr. Douglas. — This boundary as now fixed, would leave New Mexico 
bounded on the east by the 103° of longitude up to 36° 30', and then east to 
100° ; and it leaves a narrow neck of land between 36° 30' and the old bound- 
ary of Texas, that would not naturally and properly go to New Mexico when ;t 
should become a State. This amendment would compel us to include it in 
New Mexico, or to form it into another State. When the principle shall come 
up in the bill for the organization of a Territorial government for New Mexico, 
no doubt the same vote which inserted it in the Omnibus Bill, and the Utah 
Bill, will insert it there. 

" Several senators. — No doubt of it." 

Upon that debate the amendment of the senator from Arkansas 
was voted down, because it was avowed and distinctly understood 
tli;it the amendment of the senator from Virginia, tal<en in comiection 
witli the remainder of tiie- bill, did release the country ceded by 
Texa^ north of 36° 30' from the restriction; and it was agreed that 
if we did not put it into the Texas Boundary Bill it shonld go into 
the Territorial Bill. I stated, as a reason why it should not go into 
tlie Texas Boundary Bill, that if it did it would be a compact, and 
would compel us to put tlie wliole ce<led country into one State, 
when it might be more convenient and natural to mal<e a ditferent 
boundary. I pledged myself then tiiat it should he \nn into the 
Territorial Bill; and when we considered the Territorial hill for 
New Mexico, we put in tlie san:e clause, so far as the country ceded 
by Texas was embraced within that Territory, and it passed in that 
shape. When it went into the house, they united tlie two bills 
together, and thus this clause passed in the same bill, as the senator 
from Arkansas desired. 

Now, sir, have I not shown conclusively that it was the under- 
standing in that debate that the effect was to release the country 
north of 36*^ 30', which formerly belonged to Texas, from the opeia- 
tion of that restriction, and to provide that it should come into the 
Union with or without slaver}', as its people should see proper? 

That being the case; 1 ask the senator from Ohio (Mr. Chase) if 
he ought not to have been cautious wheti he charged over and over 
again that there was not a word or a syllable uttered in debate to 
tliat effect? Should he not have been cautious when he said that 
it was a mere after-thought on my part? Sliould he not have been 
cautious when he said that I never even dreamed of it up to the 4th 
of January of this year? Whereas the record shows that I made a 
speech to that effect during the pendency of the bills of 1850. The 
same statement was rej)eated by nearly every senator who followed 
him in debate in opposition to this bill ; and it is now being circulated 
over the country, published in every abolition paper, and read ori 
every stump by every abolition orator in order io get ap a i)rejudica 


against me and the measure I have introduced. Those gentlemen 
should not have dared to utter the statement v^ithout knovping 
whether it was correct or not. These records are troublesome things 
sometimes. It is not proper for a man to charge another with a 
mere after-thouirht because he did not know that he had advocated 
the same principles before. Because he did not know it he should 
not take it for granted that nobody else did. Let me tell the senators 
that it is a very unsafe rule for them to rely upon. They ought to 
have had sufficient respect for a brother senator to have believed, 
when he came forward with an important proposition, that he had 
investigated it. They ought to have had sufficient respect for a 
committee of this body to have assumed that tliey meant what they 

"When I see such a system of misinterpretation and misrepresenta- 
tion of views, of laws, of records, of debates, all tending to mislead 
the public, to excite prejudice, and to propagate error, have I not a 
right to expose it in very plain terms, without being arraigned for 
violating the courtesies of the Senate ? 

Mr. President, frequent reference has been made in debate to the 
admission of Arkansas as a slaveholding State, as furnishing evidence 
that the abolitionists and freesoilers, who have recently become so 
much enamored with the Missouri Compromise, have always been 
faithful to its stipulations and implications. I will show that th« 
reference is unfortunate for them. When Arkansas applied foi 
admission in 1836, objection was made in consequence of the provi- 
sions of her constitution in respect to slavery. When the abolition- 
ists and freesoilers of that day were arraigned for making that 
objection, upon the ground that Arkansas was south of 36° 30', they 
replied that the act of 1820 was never a compromise, much less a 
compact, imposing any obligation upon the successors of those who 
passed the act to pay any more respect to its provisions tijan to any 
other enactment of ordinary legislation. I have the debates before 
me, but will occupy the attention of the Senate only to read one or 
two paragraphs. Mr. Hand of New York, in opposition to the 
admission of Arkansas as a slaveholding State, said : 

" I am aware, it will be, as it has already been contended, that by the 
Missouri Compromise, as it has been preposterously termed, Congress baa 
parted with its right to prohibit the introduction of slavery into the territory 
south of 36° 30' north latitude." 

He acknowledged that by the Missouri Compromise, as he said it 
was preposterously termed, the North was estopped from denying 
the right to hold slaves south of that line; but, he added: 

" There are, to my mind, insuperable objections to the soundness of that 

Here they are : 

" In the first place, there was no compromise or compact whei-eby Congresa 
larrendered any power, or yielded any jurisdiction ; and, in the second piaeci. 


tf it had done so, it was a mere legislative act, that could not hind their snc- 
Cf sdors ; it would be subject to a repeal at the will of any succeeding Congress." 

I give these passages as specimens of the various speeches made in 
opposition to the admission of Arkansas by the same class of politi- 
cians who now oppose the Nebraska Bill upon the ground that it 
violates a solemn compact. So much for the speeches. Now for 
the vote. The journal which I hold in my hand, shows that forty- 
nine northern votes were recorded against the admission of Arkansas. 

Yet, sirs, in utter disregard — and cliarity leads me to hope, in pro- 
found ignorance — of all these facts, gentlemen are boasting that the 
North always observed the contract, never denied its validity, never 
wislied to violate it ; and they have even referred to the cases of 
the admission of Missouri and Arkansas as instances of their good 

Now, is'it possible that gentlemen could suppose these things could 
be said and distributed in their speeches without exposure? Did 
they presume that, inasmuch as their lives were devoted to slavery 
agitation, whatever they did not know about the history of that 
question did not exist? I am willing to believe, I hope it may be 
the fact, that they were profoundly ignorant of all these records, all 
these debates, all these facts, which overthrow every position they 
have assumed. I wish the senator from Maine (Mr. Fessenden), who 
delivered his maiden speech here to-night, and who made many 
Bly stabs at me, had informed himself upon the subject before he re- 
peated all these groundless assertions. I can excuse him for the 
reason that he has been here but a few days, and having enlisted 
under the banner of the abolition confederates, was unwise and sim- 
ple enough to believe that what they had published could be relied 
upon as stubborn facts. He may be an innocent victim. I hope he 
can have the excuse of not having investigated the subject. I am 
willing to excuse him on the ground that he did not know what he 
was talking about, and it is the only excuse which I can make for 
him. I will say, however, that I do not think he was required by 
his loyalty to the abolitionists to repeat every disreputable insinua- 
tion which they made. Why did he throw into his speech that foul 
innuendo about " a northern man with southern principles," and then 
quote the senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Sumner) as his authority ? 
Ay, sir, I say that foul insinuation. Did not the senator from Mas- 
Bachusetts, who first dragged it into this debate, wish to have the 
public understand that I was known as a northern man with southern 
principles ? Was not that the allusion ? If it was, he availed himself 
of a cant phrase in the public mind, in violation of the truth of His- 
torv. I know of but one man in this country who ever made it a 
boast that he was "a northern man with southern principles," and 
he (turning to Mr. Sumner) was your candidate for the Presidency in 
1848. (Applause in the galleries.). 

The Peesidixg Officer (Me. Mason).— Order, order. 

Me. Douglas. — If hie sarcasm was intended for Martin Van Buren, 


it involves a family quarrel, with which I have no disposition to 
interfere. I will only add that I have been able to discover nothing 
in the present position or recent history of that distinguished states- 
man, which would lead m<^ to covet the sobriquet by which he is 
known — " a northern man with southern principles." 

Mr. President, the senators from Ohio and Massachusetts (Mr. Chase 
and Mr. Sumner), have taken the liberty to impeach my motives in 
bringing forward this m.easure. I desire to know by what right they 
arraign me, or by what authority they impute to me other and dif 
ferent motives than those which I have assigned. I have shown from 
the record that I advocated and voted for the same principles and 
provisions in the compromise acts of 1850, which are embraced in 
this bill. I have proven that I put the same construction upon those 
measures immediately after their adoption that is given in the report 
which I submitted this session from tlie Committee on Territories. 
I iiave shown the legislature of Illinois at its first session, after those 
measures were enacted, passed resolutions appr?hdng them, and de- 
claring that the same great principles of self-government should be 
incorporated into all Territorial organizations. Yet, sir, in the face of 
these facts, these senators have the hardihood to declare that this was 
all an " afterthought" on my part, conceived for the first time dur- 
ing the present session ; and that the measure is oflered as a bid for 
Presidential votes ! Are they incapable of conceiving that an honest 
man can do a right thing from worthy motives? I must be permitted 
to tell those senators that their experience in seeking political prefer- 
ment does not furnish a safe rule by which to judge the character and 
principles of other senators ! 

I must be permitted to tell the senator from Ohio that I did not 
obtain my seat in this body, either by a corrupt bargain or a dis- 
honorable coalition ! I must be permitted to remind the senator 
from Massachusetts that I did not enter into any combinations or 
arrangements by which my character, my principles, and my honor, 
yr«re set up at public auction or private sale in order to procure a 
se^t in the Senate of the United States ! I did not come into the 
Senate by any such means. 

Mr. Wellee. — But there are some men whom I know that did. 

Me. Chase (to Mr. Weller.) Do you say that 1 came here by a 
bargain ? Whoever says that I came here by a corrupt bargain states 
what is false. 

Me. Douglas. — It will not do for the senator from Ohio to return 
oflensive expressions after what I have said and proven. Nor can 
[ permit him to change the issue, and thereby divert public attention 
from the enormity of his offence, in charging me with unworthy 
motives ; while performing a high public duty, in obedience to the 
expressed wish and known principles of my State. I choose to 
maintain my own position, and leave the public to ascertain, if they 
do not understand how and by what means he was elected to tbt 


Me. Chasb. — If the senator will allow me, I will say, in reply to 
she remarks which the senator has just made, that I did not under. 
Btand him as calling upon me for any explanation of the statement 
which he said was made in regard to a Presidential bid. The exact 
statement in the address was this— it was a question addressed to the 
people: "Would they allow their dearest rights to be made the 
hazards of a Presidential game?" That was the exact expression. 
Now, sir, it is well known that all these great measures in the country 
are influenced, more or less, by reference to the great public canvasses 
which are going on from time to time. I certainly did not intend 
to impute to the senator from Illinois — and I desire always to do 
justice — in that any improper motive. I do not think it is an 
unworthy ambition to desire to be a President of the United States. 
I do not think that the bringing forward of a measure with refer- 
ence to that object would be an improper thing, if the measure be 
proper in itself. I difler from the senator in my judgment of the 
measure. I do not think the measure is a right one. In that I 
express the judgment which I honestly entertain. I do not condemn 
his judgment, 1 do not make, and I do not desire to make, any perso- 
nal imputations upon him in reference to a great public question. 

Mr. Douglas. — I wish to examine the explanation of the senator 
from Ohio, and see whether I ought to accept it as satisfactory. He 
has quoted the language of the address. It is undeniable that that 
language clearly imputed to me the design of bringing forward this 
bill with a view of securing my own election to the Presidency. 
Then, by way of excusing himself for imputing to me such a pur- 
pose, the senator says that he does not consider it " an unworthy 
ambition ;" and hence he says that, in making the charge, he does 
not impugn my motives. I must remind him that, in addition to 
that insinuation, he only said, in the same address, that my bill was a 
"criminal betrayal of precious rights;" he only said it was "an 
atrocious plot against freedom and humanity ;" he only said that it 
was ''meditated bad faith;" he only spoke significantly of "servile 
demagogues;" he only called upon the preachers of the Gospel and 
the people at their public meetings to denounce and resist such a 
monstrous iniquity. In saying all this, and much of the same sort, 
he now assures me in the presence of the Senate, that he did not 
mean the charge to imply an "unworthy ambition;" that it was not 
intended as a " personal imputation " upon my motives or character ; 
and that he meant " no personal disrepect " to me as the author of 
the measure. In reply, I will content myself with the remark, that 
there is a very wide difterence of opinion between the senator from 
Ohio and myself in respect to the meaning of words, and especially 
in regard to the line of conduct which, in a public man, does not 
constitute an unworthy ambition. 

Me. Stjmkee. — Will'the senator from Illinois yield the floor to me 
for a moment? 

Mr. DouGLi s. — As I presume it is on the same point, I will \fitJ 
tlie testimonj 


Me. Stjmnee. — ^Mr, President, T shrink always instinctively from 
any effort to repel a personal assault. I do not recognize the juria- 
diction of this uody to try my election to the Senate ; but I do state, 
in reply to the senator froiu Illinois, that if he means to suggest that 
I came into the body by any waiver of principles ; by any abandon- 
ment of my principles of any kind; by any effort or activity of my 
own, iv any degree, he states that which cannot be sustained by the 
facts. I never sought, in any way, the office which I now hold ; 
nor was I a party, in any way, directly or indirectly, to those efforts 
which placed me here. 

Me. Douglas. — Sir, the senator from Massachusetts comes up with 
a very bold front, and denies the right of any man to put him on 
defence for the manner of his election. He says it is contrary to his 
principles to engage in personal assaults. If he expects to avail him- 
self of the benefit of such a plea, he should act in accordance with 
his professed principles, and refrain from assaulting the character 
and impugning the motives of better men than himself. Everybody 
knows that he came here by a coalition or combination between 
political parties holding opposite and hostile opinions. But it is not 
my purpose to go into the morality of the matters involved in his 
election. The public know the history of that notorious coalition, 
and have formed its judgment upon it. It will not do for the senator 
to say that he was not a party to it, for he thereby betrays a con- 
sciousness of the immorality of the transaction, without acquitting 
himself of the responsibilities which justly attach to him. As well 
might the receiver of stolen goods deny any responsibility for the 
larceny, while luxuriating in the proceeds of the crime, as the sena- 
tor to avoid the consequences resulting from the mode of his election, 
while he clings to the oflBce. I must be permitted to remind him of 
what he certainly can never forget, that when he arrived here to 
take his seat for the first time, so firmly were senators impressed 
with the conviction that he had been elected by dishonorable and 
corrupt means, there were very few who, for a long time, could 
deem it consistent with personal honor to hold private intercourse 
with him. So general was that impression, that for a long time ho 
was avoided and shunned as a person unworthy of the association 
of gentlemen. Gradually, howe rer, these injurious impressions were 
worn away by his bland manners and amiable deportment; and I 
regret that the senator should now, by a violation of all the rules of 
courtesy and propriety, compel me to refresh his mind upon these un- 
welcome reminiscences. 

Me. Chase. — If the senator refers to me, he is stating a fact of 
which I have no knowledge at all. I came here 

Me. Douglas. — 1 was not speaking of the senator from Ohio, but 
of his confederate in slander, the senator from Massachusetts (Mr. 
r?umner). I have a word now to say to the other senator from Ohio 
(Mr. Wade). On the day when I exposed this abolition address, no 
fnll of slanders and calumnies, he arose and stated that, although hia 
oame was signed to it, he had never read it; and so willing was he 


to indorse an abolition document, that he signed it in blank, witb- 
out knowing what it contained. 

The senator from New York (Mr. Seward), when I was about to 
"•^ll him to account for this slanderous production, promptly denied 
iihat he ever signed the document. Now, I say, it has been circu- 
lated with his name attached to it ; then I want to know of the 
senators who sent out the document, who forged the name of the 
senator from New York ? 

Mk. Chase. — I am glad that the senator has asked that question. 
I have only to say in reference to that matter, that I have not the 
slightest knowledge in regard to the manner in which various names 
were appended to that document. It was prepared to be signed, and 
was signed, by the gentlemen here who are known as Independent 
Democrats, and how any other names came to be added to it is more 
than I can tell. 

Me. Doijg-las. — It is not a satisfactory answer, for those who con- 
fess to the preparation and publication of a document filled with 
insult and calumny, with forged names attached to it for the purpose 
of imparting to it respectability, to interpose a technical denial tnat 
they committed the crime. Somebody did forge other people's 
names to that document. The senators from Ohio and Massachusetts 
(Mr. Chase and Mr. Sumner), plead guilty to the authorship and pub- 
lication; upon them rests the responsibility of showing who com- 
juitted the forgery. 

Mr. President, I have done with these personal matters. I regret 
the necessity which compelled me to devote so much time to them. 
All I have done and said has been in the way of self-defence, as the 
Senate can bear me witness. 

Mr. President, I have also occupied a good deal of time in exposing 
the cant of these gentlemec about the sanctity of the Missouri Co: i- 
promise, and the dishonor attached to the violation of plighted faitn. 
I have exposed these matters in order to show that the object of 
these men is to withdraw from public attention the real principle 
involved in the bill. They well know that the abrogation of the 
Missouri Compromise is the incident and not the principal of the bill. 
They well understand that the report of the committee and the bill 
propose to establish the principle in all Territorial organizations, that 
the question of slavery shall be referred to the people to regulate for 
themselves, and that such legislation should be had as was necessary 
to remove all legal obstructions to the free exercise of this right by 
the people. 

The eighth section of the Missouri Act standing in the way of this 
great principle must be rendered inoperative and void whether ex- 
pressly repealed or not, in order to give the people the power of regu- 
lating their own domestic institutions in their own way, subject only 
to the Constitution. 

Now, sir, if these gentlemen have entire confidence in the correct- 
ness of their own position, why do they not meet the isg'ie boldly 


Sind fairlj, and controvert the soundness of this great principle of 
popular sovereignty in obedience to the Constitution ? They know 
full well that this was the principle upon which the colonies separa- 
ted from the crown of Great Britain, the principle upon which tho 
battles of the Kevolution were fought, and the principle upon which 
our republican system was founded. They cannot be ignorant of the 
fact that the Revolution grew out of the assertion of the right on the 
part of the imperial government to interfere with the internal affairs 
and domestic concerns of the colonies. In this connection I will 
invite attention to a few extracts frwn the instructions of the differ- 
ent colonies to their delegates in the Continental Congress, with ? 
view of forming such a union as would enable them to make success- 
ful resistance to the efforts of the crown to destroy the fundamental 
principle of all free government by interfering With the domestic 
affairs of the colonies. 

I will begin with Pennsylvania, whose devotion to tlie principles 
of human liberty, and the obligations of the Constitution, has 
acquired for her the proud title of the Key-stone in the arch of 
republican States. In her instructions is contained the following 
reservation : 

" Reserving to the people of this colony the sole and exclusive right of regu- 
lating the internal government and police of the same." 

And, in a subsequent instruction, in reference to suppressing the 
British authority in the colonies, Pennsylvania uses the following 
emphatic language : 

" Unanimously declafo our ■willinguess to concur in a vote of the Congresa 
declaring the United Colonies free and independent States, provided the form- 
fng the government ai>d the regulation of the internal police of this colony be 
always reserved to the people of the said colony." 

Connecticut, in authorizing her delegates to vote for the Declara- 
tion of Independence, attached to it the following condition: 

" Saving that the administration of government, and the power of forming 
governments for, and the regulation of the internal concerns and police of 
each colony, ought to be left and remain to the respective colonial legisla- 

New Hampshire annexed this proviso to her instructions to her 
ilelogates to vote for independence : 

" Provided the regulation of our internal police be under the direction of onr 
own assembly." 

New Jersey imposed the following condition: 

** Always observing that, whatever plan of confederacy you enter into, the 
regulating the interaal police of this province is to be reserved to the colonia) 
'egislature " 


Maryland gave lier consent to the Declaration of Indeiiendenco 
Bpon the condition contained in this proviso : 

"And that said colony will hold itself bound by the resolutions of a majority 
of the United Colorues in the premises, provided the sole and exclusive right 
of regulating the internal government and police of that colony be reserved to 
tlie people thereof." 

Virginia annexed the following condition to her instructions to 
vote for the Declaration of Independence : 

" Provided that the power of forming government for, and the regulations 
of the internal concerns of the colony, be left to respective colonial legisla- 

I will not weary the Senate in multiplying evidence upon tliis 
point. It is apparent that tlie Declaration of Independence liad its 
origin in the violation of that great fundamental principle which 
secured to the people of the colonies the right to regulate their own 
domestic affairs in their own way : and that the Revolution resulted 
in the triumph of that principle, and the recognition of the right as- 
serted by it. Abolitionism proposes to destroy the right, and extin- 
guish the principle for which our forefathers waged a seven years' 
bloody war, and upon which our whole system of free government 
is founded. They not only deny the application of this principle to 
the Territories, but insist upon fastening tlie prohibition upon all the 
States to be formed out of those Territories. Therefore, the doctrine 
of the abolitionists — tiie doctrine of the opponents of the Nebraska 
and Kansas Bill, and of the advocates of the Missouri restriction — 
demand Congressional interference with slavery, not only in the Ter- 
ritories, but in all the new States to be formed therefrom. It is the 
same doctrine when applied to the Territories and new States of this 
Union, which the British government attempted to enforce by the 
sword upon the American colonies. It is this fundamental principle 
of self-government which constitutes the distinguishing feature of 
the Nebraska Bill. The opponents of the principle are consistent in 
opposing the bill. I do not blame them for their opposition. _ I only 
ask them to meet the issue fairly and openly, by acknowledging that 
they are opposed to the principle which it is the object of the bill to 
carry into operation. It seems that there is no power on earth, no 
intellectual power, no mechanical power that can bring them to a 
fa.r discussion of the true issue. If they hope to delude the people, 
and escape detection for any considerable length of time under the 
catch-word '• Mi^soul•i Compromise," and "faith of compacts," tiiey 
will find that the people of this country have more penetration and 
intelligence tlian they have given them credit for. 

Mr. President, there is an important fact connected with this sla- 
very resolution, which should never be lost sight of. It has always 
wisen from one and the same cause. Whenever that caise has been 


removed, the agitation has ceased ; and wlienever tlie cause has been 
renewed, the agitation has sprung into existence. That cause is, and 
ever has been, the attempt on the part of Congress to interfere with 
the question of slavery in the Territories and new States formed 
therefrom. Is it not wise, then, to confine our action within the 
ephere of our legitimate duties, and leave this vexed question so take 
care of itself in each State and Territory, according to the wishes of 
the people thereof, in conformity to the forms and in subjection to 
the provisions of the Constitution ? 

The opponents of the bill tell us that agitation is no part of their 
policy, that their great desire is peace and harmony ; and they com- 
plain bitterly that I should have disturbed the repose of the country 
by the introduction of this measure. Let me ask tlie>e professed 
friends of peace and avowed enemies of agitation, hww tiie issue 
could have been avoided ? They tell me that I should have let the 
question alone — tliat is, that 1 should have left Nebraska unorganized, 
tiie people unprotected, and the Indian barrier in existence, until the 
swelling tide of emigration should burst through, and accomplish by 
violence what it is the part of wisdom and statesmanship to direct 
and regulate by law. How long could you have postponed action 
with safety? How long could you maintain that Indian barrier, and 
restrain the onward marc-h of civilization. Christianity, and free 
government by a barbarian wall ? Do you suppose that you could 
keep tliat vast country a howling wilderness in all time to come, 
roamed over by hostile savages, cutting off all safe communication 
between our Atlantic and Pacific possessions? I tell you that the 
time for action has come, and cannot be postponed. It is a case in 
which the " let-alone " policy would precipitate a crisis which must 
inevitably result in violence, anarchy, and strife. 

You cannot fix bounds to the onward march of this great and 
growing country. You cannot fetter the limbs of the young giant. 
He will burst all your chains. He will expand, and grow, and in- 
crease, and extend civilization, Christianity, and liberal principles. 
Then, sir, if you cannot check the growtli of the country in that 
direction, is it not the part of wisdom to look the danger in the face, 
and provide for an event which you cannot avoid? I tell you, sir, 
you must provide for continuous lines of settlement from the Missis- 
sippi Valley to the Pacific Ocean. And in making this provision, 
you must decide upon what principles the Territories shall be or- 
ganized; in other words, whether the people shall be allowed to 
regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, according to 
the provisions of this bill, or whether the opposite doctrine of Cou» 
gressional interference is to prevail. Postpone it, if you will ; but 
whenever you do act, this question must be met and decided. 

The Missouri Compromise was interference ; the Compromise ol 
1850 was non-interference, leaving the people to exercise their rights 
under the Constitution. The Committee on Territoi'ies were com- 
pelled to act on thid subject. I, as their chairman, was bound to 



Qieot tne tjuestion. I chose to take tlie resjionsibility, regardless of 
uonscqiience personal to myself. I should have done the same thing 
la?t year, if there had been time : but we know, considering the late 
period at which the bill then reached us from the House, that there 
was not suthcient time to consider the question fully, and to prepare 
a j-eport upon the subject. I was therefore persuaded by friends to 
allow the bill to be reported to the Senate, in order that such action 
might be taken as should be deemed wise and proper. 

The bill was never taken up for action, the last night of the ses- 
sion having been exhausted in debate on the motion to take up the 
bill. This sessiou, the measure was introduced by my friend from 
Iowa (Ml-. Dodge) and referred to the Territorial Committee during 
the tirst week of the session. We have abundance of time to con- 
sider the subject; it was a matter of pressing necessity, and there 
Vt'^as no excuse for not meeting it diractly and fairly. We were com- 
pelled to take our position upon the doctrine either of intervention 
or non-intervention. We chose the latter, for two reasons ; first, 
because we believed that the principle was right ; and, second, be- 
cause it was the principle adopted in 1850, to which the two great 
political parties of the country were solemnly pledged. 

There is another reason why I desire to see this principle recog- 
nized as a rule of action in all time to come. It will have the eflfect 
to destroy all sectional parties and sectional agitations. If, in the 
language of the report of the committee, you withdraw the slavery 
question from the halls of Congress and the political arena, and com- 
mit it to the arbitrament of those who are immediately interested in 
and alone responsible for its consequences, there is nothing left out 
of which sectional parties can be organized. It never was done, an^ 
never can be done on the bank, tariff, distribution, or any other par 
ty issue which has existed, or may exist, after this slavery question 
is withdrawn from politics. On every other political question these 
have always supporters and opponents in every portion of the Union 
— in each State, county, village, and neighborhood — residing togeth- 
er in harmony and good-fellowship, and combating each other's opin- 
ions *ind correcting each other's errors in a spirit of kindness and 
friendship. These differences of opinion between neighbors and 
friends, and the discussions that grow out of them, and the sympa- 
thy which each feels with the advocates of his own opinions in eve- 
ry other portion of this wide-spread republic, adds an overwhelming 
and irresistible moral weight to the strength of the confederacy. 

Affection for the Union can never be alienated or diminished by 
any other party issues than those which are joined upon sectional 
or geographical lines. When the people of the North shall all be 
rallied under one banner, and the whole South marshalled under an- 
other banner, and each section excited to frenzy and madness by 
hostility to the institutions of the other, then the patriot may well 
tremble for the perpetuity of the Union. Withdraw the slavery 
question from the political arena, and remove it to tho States and 


Territories, eacli to decide for itself, such a catastrophe oan iievof 
happen. Then you will never be able to tell, by any senator's vote 
for or against any measure, from what State or section of the Uni«n 
be eomes. 

Why, then, can we not withdraA\ this vexed question from poll 
tics ? Why can we not adopt the j«rinciple of this bill as a rule of 
action in all new Territorial organizations ? Why can we not deprive 
these agita''ors of their vocation, and render it impossible for sena- 
tors to come here upon bargains on the slavery question? I believe 
that the peace, the harmony, and perpetuity of the Union require us 
to go back to the doctrines of the Revolution, to the principles of 
the Constitution — the Compromise of 1850, and leave the people, 
under the Constitution, to do as they may see proper in respect to 
their own internal affairs, 

Mr. President, I have not brought this question forward as a nor- 
thern man or as a southern man. I am unwilling to recognize such 
divisions and distinctions. I have brought it forward as an Ameri- 
can senator, representing a State which is true to this principle, and 
which has approved of my action in respect to the Nebraska BiU. 
r have brought it forward not as an act of justice to the South more 
Jian to the North. I have presented it especially as an act of justice 
ik) the people of those Territories, and of the States to be formed 
therefrom, now and in all time to come. 

I have nothing to say about northern rights or southern rights. I 
know of no such divisions or distinctions under the Constitution. 
The bill does equal and exact justice to the whole Union, and every 
part of it ; it violates the rights of no State or Territory, but places 
each on a perfect equality, and leaves the people thereof to the free 
enjoyment of all their rights under the Constitution. 

Now, sir, I wish to say to our southern friends, that if they desire to 
sec this great principle carried out, n ^w is their time to rally around 
it, to cherish it, preserve it, make it the rule cf action in all future 
time. If they fail to do it now, and thereby allow the doctrine of 
interference to prevail, upon their heads the consequence of that in- 
terference must rest. To our northern friend?, on the other hand, 1 
desire to say, that from this day henceforward , they must rebuke the 
slander whicli has been uttered against the South, that they desire to 
legislate slavery into the Territories. The South has vindicated her 
sincerity, her honor on that point, by bringimj forward a provision, 
negativing, in express terms, any such effect as the result of this bill. 
I am rejoiced to know that, while the proposition to abrogate the 
sighth section of the Missouri Act comes from n. free State, the pro- 
position to negative the conclusion that slavery is thereby introduced 
comes from a slaveholding State. Thus, both eides furnish conclu- 
sive evidence that they go for the principle, and the principle only, 
and desire to take no advantage of any possible miseonstruction. 

Mr. President, I feel that I owe an apology to tlie Senate for Lav- 
ing occupied their attention so long, and a still greater apologj foi 


having discussed the question in such an incoherent and desultoi7 
manner. But I could not forbear to claim the right of closing this 
debate. I thought gentlemen would recognize its propriety when 
they saw the manner in which I was assailed and misrepresented in 
the course of this discussion, and especially by assaults still more 
disreputable, in some portions of the country. These assaults have 
had no other eifect upon me than to give me courage and energy for 
a still more resolute discharge of duty. I say frankly that, in my 
opinion, this measure will be as popular at the North as at the South, 
when its provisions and principles shall have been fully developed 
and become well understood. The people at the North are attached 
to the principles of self-government; and you cannot convince them 
that that is self-government which deprives a people of the right ol 
legislating for themselves, and compels them to receive laws which 
are forced upon them by a legislature in which they are not repre^ 
sented. We are willing to stand upon this great principle of self- 
government everywhere; and it is to us a proud reflection that, in 
this whole discussion, no friend of the bill has urged an argument in 
its favor which could not be used with the same propriety in a free 
State as in a slave State, and vice versa. But no enemy of the bill 
has used an argument which would bear repetition one mile across 
Mason and Dixon's line. Our opponents have dealt entirely in sec- 
tional appeals. The friends of the bill have discussed a great prin- 
ciple of universal application, which can be sustained by the same 
reason 3, and the same arguments, in ©very time and in every corner 
of the Unioxk 



On the ^th of June, 1858, the subject of British Aggrob 
Dion feeing under consideration, Mr. Douglas said : 

I agree, Mr. President, with iii(),st that lias been said by my friend 
from Georgia (Mr. Toombs), and especially that we ought to deter- 
mine what we are to do in reference to the outrages upon our flag iu 
the Gulf of Mexico and the West Indies before we decide the amount 
of money we shall vote for war purposes. If we are going to con- 
tent ourselves with simple resolutions that we will not submit to that 
which we have resolved for half a century should never be repeated, 
I see no use in additional appropriations for navy or for army; if we 
are going to be contented with loud-sounding speeches, with defiance 
to the British lion, with resolutions of the Senate alone, not con- 
curred in by the other house, conferring no power on the Executive, 
merely capital for the country, giving no power to the Executive to 
avenge insults or prevent their repetition, what is the use of voting 
money ? I find that patriotic gentlemen are ready to talk loud, re- 
solve strong; but are they willing to appropriate the money — are 
they willing to confer on the Executive power to repel these insults, 
and to avenge them whenever they may be perpetrated? Let us 
know whether wo are to submit and protest, or whether we are to 
authorize the President to resist and to prevent the repetition of 
these offences. If senators are prepared to vote for a law reviving 
the act of 1039, putting the army, the imvy, volunteers, and money 
at the disposal of the President to prevent the repetition of these 
acta, and to punish them if repearecl, then I am ready to give the 
ships and the money ; but I desire to know whether we are to sub- 
rait to these insults with a simple protest, or whether we are to re- 
pel them. 

Gentlemen ask us to vote ships and money, and they talk to ua 
about the necessity of a ship in China, and about outrages in Tam- 
pico, and disturbanceu in South America, and Indian difficulties in 
Puget Sound. Every enemy that can be found on the face of the 
earth is defied, except the one that defies us. Bring in a proposi- 
tion here to invest the President with power to repel British aggres- 
sion on American ships, and what, is the response ? High-sounding 
resolutions, declaring in effect, if not in terms, that whereas Great 
Britain has perpetrated outrages on our flag and our shipping, which 
are intolerable and insufferable, and must not be repeated ; therefore, 
if ehe does so again, we will whip Mexico, or we will pounce down 
upon Nicaragua, or we will get np a fight with Costa Rica, or we 
will chaatiso New Granada, or we iriU punish the Chinese, or we 


will repel the iBdians from Piiget Sound (laughter) ; but not a word 
about Great Britain ! What I desire to know, is whether we are to 
meet this issue with Great Britain ? I am told -we shall do it when 
we are prepared. Sir, w^heu will you be prepared to repel an insult, 
unless when it is given ? 

England has her ships of war, of various sizes, searching our ves 
sels, firing across their bows, firing into their rigging, subject 
ing them to search, not only ia the Gulf of Mexico, but in the Carib 
bean sea and upon the Atlantic. It is not confined to one captain, 
or one vessel, or one locality, but the outrages are committed by 
various ships, by the Styx, on the coast of Cuba ; by the Forward, 
five hundred miles east of there ; by the Buzzard, a thousand miles 
from Cuba. Every ai-rival at our ports brings us information of the 
repetition of these ofi"ences, clearly demonstrating the fact that they 
are not accidental. They are not confined to one locality. They are 
not the acts of one ship or of one ofiicer. They are the result of 
orders from Great Britain to execute this system of outrages on the 
American flag and American commerce. Are we to submit to it ? 
If so, let us not say another word about it, pass no resolutions, make 
no speecjies, vote no extra appropriations that we would not vote if 
these things had not occurred. If, on the contrary, we are not going to 
submit to them, why not act as we did on the northeastern boundary 
question in 1839 ? When the news arrived here on the 2d of March, 
1839, that an American citizen had been taken prisoner on the dis- 
puted boundary of Maine, showing a disposition on the part of Great 
Britain to insist on her claim to the exclusive possession of that 
country, instantly the Senate, by a unanimous vote, passed a bill 
authorizing the President to repel any attempt on the part of Great 
Britain to enforce that claim, and, for that purpose, putting at hia 
disposal the army, the navy, the militia, fifty thousand volunteers, 
and ten millions of money, to enable him to execute the will of the 
nation in that respect. 

Now, sir, why not revive that act, striking out the disputed boun- 
dary and inserting " her claims to the right of visitation and search," 
and then every provision of that bill would be applicable to the pre- 
sent case. My friend from Missouri (Mr. Green) calls my attention 
to the vote of the House of Eepresentatives on that occasion. It, 
stood 197 in the afl&rmative, and 6 in the negative. The vote in the 
Senate was forty-one in the afiirmative, none in the negative. Your 
Clays, your Calhouns, your Websters, the great men of former times, 
were here then ; men difi'ering in politics in times of high party 
strife, at a period when Mr. Van Buren was President, and Clay, 
Webster, and Calhoun led the opposition. Still, the moment this 
outrage was perpetrated by Great Britain upon our rights, all party 
dissensions were hushed ; the opposition and the administration 
stood as one man when the honor of the nation was assaulted. They 
did not hesitate to confer upon Mr. Van Buren the power to resist 
the outrages committed by Great Britain, in case they should b« 
persevered in, 24 


Why not row revive the s irae law which was then passed by a 
unanimous TOte in the Senate, and with only six dissenting voices in 
the other house, and confer upon President Buchanan the same 
power and authority which was then conferred upon President Van 
Buren on the motion of Mr. Senator Buchanan ? Do that, and then 
I am prepared to vote the ships, the money, the men, anything, 
everything, necessary to indicate our firm resolve. Yes, sir, I will 
go further, I will vote the ships and the money even now, trusting 
that Congress, before it adjourns, will arm the President with the 
necessary power and authority to prevent a repetition of these aggres- 
sions. I am, however, extremely unwilling to bury up the outrages of 
Great Britain under all the talk and noise that is made about the injuries 
perpetrated by the South American republics. I know that in South 
America outrages have been perpetrated on our commerce, on our 
citizens and their property, which ought to have been punished on 
the spot. I know they are continuing, and will continue, from day 
to day, and year to year, until you clothe the Executive with the 
authority to punish them as promptly as the British government 
punish similar outrages on their commerce and their rights; but 
these things have been going on in South America for years. They 
are weak, feeble, unstable powers, entitled to our sympathy and oui 
contempt mingled together. While I would clothe the Executive 
with power to punish them, I would only do it after I had avenged 
the insults perpetrated by Great Britain, or I would in the same act 
authorize the President to avenge tliem. 

Sir, I tremble for the fame of America, for her honor, and for her 
character, when we shall be silent in regard to British outrages ; and 
avenge ourselves by punishing the weaker powers instead of grap- 
pling with the stronger. I never did fancy that policy, nor admire 
that, chivalry which induced a man, when insulted by a strong man 
of his own size, to say that he would whip the first boy he found in 
the street, in order to vindicate his honor ; or, as is suggested by a 
gentleman behind me, that he would go home and whip his wife 
(laughter), in order to show his courage, inasmuch as he was afraid 
to tackle the full grown man who had committed the aggression. 

Sir, these outrages cannot be concealed, they cannot have the go 
oy; we must meet them face to face. Now is the time when 
England must give up her claim to search American vessels, or we 
must be silent in our protests and resolutions and valorous speeches 
against that claim. It will not do to raise a navy for the Chinese 
seas, nor for Puget Sound, nor for Mexico, nor for the South Ameri- 
can republics. It may be used for those purposes, but England 
must first be dealt with. Sir, we shall be looked upon as showing 
the white feather, if we strike a blow at any feeble power, until these 
English aggressions and insults are first punished, and security ia 
obtained that they are not to be repeated. 

I shall vote for the amendment offered by my friend from Florida, 
nader the authority of Committee on Naval Affairs, providing for 
ten sloops-of-war. I shall also vote for the proposition of my friend 


from North Carolina for the ten gun-boats. I wish he had increased 
the number to fifty, because I understand they can be constructed 
for about $100,000 apiece, and $5,000,000 would give you fifty gun- 
iioats, vessels of a character more serviceable for coast defence than 
any other vessels you could have. They could enter every harbor, 
every creek, every bay, every nook where it is necessary to afibrd 
protection, and each one of them singly would be strong enough in 
Auie of war to capture an enemy's merchant vessel, and bring it into 
;.ort or sink it, as easily as a seventy-four, or the largest class of 
ships of war. I would increase the number of gun-boats to fifty — I 
ivould give the sloops asked for by the committee, but I would never 
permit this Congress to adjourn, after all the resolutions we have had 
reported and all the brave speeches we have made, until we give the 
President power, and thereby make it his duty, to repel in future 
every repetition of these British outrages on our flag ; and to use the 
army, the navy, the militia, and the treasury, to any extent which 
may be necessary for that purpose. 

I concur entirely with the senator from Virginia in the reasons he 
has given for the necessity of applying the provisions of the bill 
which he has reported from the Committee on Foreign Relations, aa 
a substitute for one I introduced, to Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica 
and New Granada ; but I do not perceive the necessity of limiting 
the application to those countries, and not extending it beyond them. 
If his objection be true that my proposition was to confer a war- 
making power upon the President, then, by applying the whole 
power of these provisions to Mexico, a,nd the other three countries, 
he confers a war-making power to that extent, I suppose, if it is no 
violation of principle to give the President a war-making power aa 
applied to one country, it is no more so to give it to him generally.' 
The objection I had to his provision was this : I had introduced a 
bill to authorize the President, in cases of flagrant violations of the 
law of nations, under circumstances admitting of no delay, to repel 
and punish the aggression. The senator from Virginia takes the 
provisions of that bill and indorses them as to four feeble, crippled 
powers, and omits the very country that is now committing outrages 
upon our flag and our shipping. I had introduced a bill, general in 
its provisions, applicable to England, France, Spain, Mexico, Central 
America, South America — everywhere where there were flagrant 
violation upon our flag, under circumstances admitting of no delay. 

It does not follow that for every belligerent act we shall declare 
war. The senator from Virginia, in his report, as chairman of the 
Committee on Foreign Relations, quoted Chief Justice Marshall to 
show that the practice of the right of search was a belligerent act. 
All belligerent acts do not necessarily produce war. You may repel 
them, you may grant lettej-s of marque and reprisal— there are 
various remedies short of war for repelling and redressing belligerent 
acts. It does not follow, by any means, when one nation pevpe- 
trates a violation of right against another, which, of itself, is a bel- 


ligerent act, that war is the inevitable consequence, any more than 
it follows, when one gentleman says something offensive to another, 
that a peremptory challenge is a necessary result. A demand for 
explanation may be necessary. There are preludes to a declaration. 
So it is between nations. There may be a belligerent act performed. 
Tt leads to negotiation, to remonstrance. When these means fail, 
then the question comes, whether our rights or our honor are 
involved to such an extent as to make it imperative to go to war as 
a final resort ? 

If this violation of the freedom of the seas were a new thing ; if 
the assertion of the right to search American vessels were now 
made for the first, or evea the second time, we might not, although 
treating it as a belligerent act, deem it necessary to go to war. But 
when the question has gone through half a century of dispute ; when 
it has reached such a point that we refuse to discuss the question of 
right any further ; when we have asserted tliat the argument is ex- 
hausted, and that the only thing left is to resort to resistance if it be 
persevered in any further ; it will not do for us, in the face of these 
outrages repeated each day, to be silent with regard to them, and 
proceed to legislate for the punishment of Mexico, Nicaragua, and 
other weak and feeble powers at a distance. The bill reported by 
the senator from Virginia would be right if it were brought for- 
ward at a time when the aggravation came from those countries, 
and not from England. I will vote for it. But to pass that by 
itself, and remain silent with regard to these British outrages, is to 
confess to the world that we are afraid of Great Britain, but we will 
maintain our courage by punishing some smaller, feebler, weaker 
power. I do not bring forward the proposition to revive the act of 
the 3d of March, 1839, as a substitute for the bill reported by the 
senator from Virginia, as he imagines. On the contrary, the two 
bills ought to go together. The one which I bring forward is 
applicable to England, and to her alone. It covers the present quar- 
rels between us and England ; not as a war measure, but as a peace 
measure. The only change that I make between that act, as I bring 
it forward now, and as it was in the shape in which it originally 
passed, is to strike out the words " territory in dispute," and insert 
"the claim of the right of search." Then the two cases are paral- 
lel, and the provision is as applicable to one as it is to the other. 

Sir, there was one member of this body, who, when the measure 
was brought in, in 1839, was disposed to treat it as an act of war, 
until the great minds of the Senate, the patriots of that day, came 
forward, and said : no. Great Britain is performing a belligerent act ; 
we must resist it at all hazards ; if she perseveres in the wrong, 
then the consequences be on her head, for having persevered in the 
wrong. Hence, you find that Clay, Calhoun, ^^ebster, Buchanan, 
and the leaders of the Senate of all parties of that clay, united with 
entire unanimity in conferring upon President Van Buren the powo' 
to resist it. One man only hesitated. A distinguished and r* 


spected senator from New Jersey made the very point that is now 
being made, as to its being an act of war; but a distinguished sera- 
tor from Mississippi appealed to him, after a prelimin ary vote had 
been taken, and it was ascertained that the Senate were unanimoug 
with one exception, not to persevere in his opposition, but allow the 
Senate to stand unanimous in the assertion of a principle upon which 
all agreed ; and Mr. Southard, in deference to the opinion of the 
remainder of the Senate, waived his objections, and allowed the bill 
to pass by a unanimous vote. 

Sir, did it turn out to be a measure of war then ? On the con- 
trary, it resulted in peace, and you were saved from a war with 
Great Britain on the northeastern boundary question, by the unani- 
mity of Congress, at that time, in preparing to repel the assault. 
The vote in the Senate was unanimous, and in the House of Repre- 
sentatives it was 197 against 6. This unanimity among the American 
people, as manifested by their representatives, saved the two coun- 
tries from war, and preserved peace between England and the United 
States upon that question. If the Senate had been nearly equally 
divided in 1839 ; if there had been but half a dozen majority for the 
passage of that measure ; if the vote had been nearly divided iu the 
House of Representatives, England would have taken courage from the 
divisions in our own councils ; she would have pressed her claim to a 
point that would have been utterly inadmissible, and inconvpatible 
with our honor, and war would have been the-inevitable constquenjce. 

The true peace measure is that which resents the insult, and re- 
dresses the wrong promptly upon the spot with a unanimity that 
shows the nation cannot be divided. Unanimity now, prompt action, 
and determined resistance to this claim of the right of search is the 
best peace measure, and the only peace measure to which you can 
resorL You have said that this nation will not submit to the right 
of search ; every department of this government has repeated it, 
all political parties unite in the sentiment ; there is one point on 
which the American people are united, and on which they have 
stood for half a century. It is violated now. The question is, whe- 
ther we shall present the same unanimity in resistance that we do in 
denying the right to commit the outrage. Unanimity on our part, 
unanimity in our councils, firm resolve, but kind and respectful words 
will preserve peace. Sir, I desire peace. I would lament a war 
with England, or with any other power, as much as any other man 
in the Senate. Nor do I think that my constituents desire war, but 
I believe that the true way to prevent it is to be prepared to resist 
aggression the moment it is made. What is the argument we hear 
used to-day? The senator from South Carolina (Mr. Hammond), 
who knows that I have for him the highest respect, porti-ays to ua 
our weak, feeble, and defenceless condition ; our thousands of m.Uea 
of coast ; our small navy ; our limited resources ; to show that we 
arc not ready for a war now. Sir, let Great Britain believe t'la* 
picture, and she will be ready no\^- for a war with us. 


Our -vacillatioii, our hesitation, our nervousness about the defence*' 
/ess condition of our coasts and of our cities, are tlie sources of en- 
couragement to England. 

Sir, I repel the idea that tlie American coast is so defenceless ao 
represented. I have passed round a great portion of the British 
coast, and I undertake to assert that the American coast is in a bet- 
ter condition of defence than that of Great Britain. New York is 
better defended than Liverpool or London to-day. It is easier for a 
fleet to enter the harbor of Liverpool or London than New York. 
There are not as many ol-stacles in the way in the British cities as 
in the American. It is possible that a steam fleet might run by the 
fortifications into either. It is not probable it would ever escape 
from there if it did ; but it is possible that it might effect its escape. 
But, sir, I do not believe that our coast is more exposed than hers, and I 
do not believe our commerce is more exposed than hers. I do not 
believe England is any better prepared for war with us than we are 
with her. If she has a larger navy, she has a more exposed interest 
to protect by that navy. She has her troubles in India ; she has 
them at the Cape ; she has them all over the world ; and her navy is 
divided, and her army divided to protect them in those detached 
places on every continent, and every island of the globe. Sir, the 
extent of her power spreading all around the globe is one of the 
greatest sources of her weakness ; and the other fact that she is a 
commercial nation, and we are an agricultural people shows that 
she may be ruined, and her citizens starved, while we, although at 
war abroad, are happy and prosperous at home. Her statesmen have 
more respect for us in this particular than we have for ourselves. 
They will never push this question to the point of war. They will 
look you in the eye, march to you steadily, as long as they find it is 
prudent. If you cast the eye down, she will rush upon you. If 
you look her in the eye steadily, she will shake hands with you as 
friends, and have respect for you. 

Suppose she should not, my friend from South Carolina asks me. 
If she does not, then we will appeal to the God of battles ; we will 
arouse the patriotism of the American nation ; we will blot out all 
distinction of party ; and the voice of faction will be hushed ; the 
American people will be a unit ; none but the voice of patriotism 
will be heard ; and from the North and the South, from the East 
and the West, we will come up as a band of brothers, animated by a 
common spirit and a common patriotism, as were our fathers of the 
Revolution, to repel the foreign enemy, and afterward differ as we 
please, and discuss at our leisure, matters of domestic dispute. 

As to my proposition for fifty gun-boats instead of twenty, I have 
only to say that I prefer tlie larger number ; and with all the respect 
I have for the senator from Mississippi and his superior knowledge 
on all matters of military defence, I must he permitted to entertain 
doubts whetlier he is correct in this particular. As to the usefulnese 
of those vessels callwd gun-boats, the experience of the last few 


years shows that a gun-boat can wander from the Carolina coast, 
and can venture to sea. England constructed immense numbers of 
them expressly for the Black Sea and the Baltic during the Rus-ian 
war; and she used them with great effect. She used them in tlie 
Gulf of Finland and at Sweaborg, They were built expressly for that 
service, and had to go three thousand miles to get to the Black Sea, 
and nearly two thousand to get into the Gulf of Finland. England 
has sent them to the West Indies ; and the very outrages of which we 
now complain are being perpetrated by gun-boats. The Forward, 
that seized our vessels five hundred miles east of the Island of Cuba, 
on the high seas, is a gun-boat. The Buzzard, that seized our 
vessels one thousand miles from Cuba, off in the Atlantic ocean, is a 
gun-boat. All the vessels England is using now, for the annoyaace 
of our commerce, are gun-boats — that very despised little craft 
which the senator from Mississippi thinks will never venture out 
from shore. I think that if a gun-boat is powerful enough to stop 
our merchantmen on the high seas, search them, and take tliem into 
port, or do what she pleases withthem, such vessels will be efficient 
enough in time of war for us to annoy the enemy's commerce with. 
I think daily experience proves that these gun-boats are efficient not 
only in the defence of harbors, in running into the mouths of river.s 
and shallow bays, but in annoying the enemy's commerce, as they 
are being used by England for that very purpose at this time. 

It so happens that only one of the vessels of Great Britain that 
have been perpetrating these outrages on our commerce, wiiich has 
hovered around the coast of Cuba, is not a gun-boat, but small '»ide' 
wlioel steamer — the Styi. 




Delivered in the Senate of the United States^ January 23, 1860. 

The hour having arrived for the consideration of the special order, 
the Senate proceeded to consider the following resolution, submitted 
oy Mr. Douglas on the 16th instant : 

^^ Resolved, Thatthe Committee on tlie Judiciary be instructed to report a bill 
for the protection of each State and Territory of the Union against invasion by 
the authorities or inhabitants of any other State or Territory ; and for the sup- 
pression and punishment of conspiracies or combinations in any State or 
Territory with intent to invade, assail, or molest the government, inhabitants, 
property, or institutions of any other State or Territory of the Union." 

Me. Douglas. — Mr. President, on the 25th of l^ovember last, the 
Governor of Virginia addressed an official communication to the 
President of the United States, in which he said : 

" I have information from various quarters, upon which I rely, that a con 
spiracy of formidable extent, in means and numbers, is formed in Ohio, Penn- 
sylvania, New York, and other States, to rescue John Brown and his associates, 
prisoners at Charlostown, Virginia. The information is specific enough to be 

" Places in Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, have been occupied as depots 
and rendezvous by these desperadoes, and unobstructed by guards or other- 
wse, to invade tlus State, and we are kept in continual apprehension of out- 
rage from fire and rapine. I apprise you of these facts in order that you may 
take steps to preserve peace between the States." 

To this communication, the President of the United States, on the 
28th of November, returned a reply from which I read the following 
sentence : 

" I am at a loss to discover any provision in the Constitution or laws of the 
United States which would authorize me to 'take steps ' for this purpose." 
[That is, to preserve the peace between the States.] 

This announcement produced a profound impression upon the 
public mind and especially in the slaveholding States. It was 
generally received and regarded as an authoritative announcement 
that the Constitution of the United States confers no power upon 
the Federal Government to protect each of the States of this Union 
against invasion from the other States. I shall not stop to inquire 
whether the President meant to declare that the existing laws confer 
no authority upon him, or that the Constitution empowers Oongresa 


to enact laws which would authorize the federal interposition to pro- 
tect the States from invasion ; my object is to raise the inquiry, and 
to ask the judgment of the Senate and of the House of Representa- 
tives on the question, whether it is not within the power of Con- 
gress, and the duty of Congress, under the Constitution, to enact aU 
laws which may be necessary and proper for the protection of each 
and every State against invasion, either from foreign powers or from 
any portion of the United States. 

The denial of the existence of such a power in the Federal Govern- 
ment has induced an inquiry among conservative men — men 
loyal to the Constitution and devoted to the Union — as to what 
means they have of protection, if the Federal Government is not 
authorized to protect them against external violence. It must be 
conceded that no community is safe, no State can enjoy peace or 
prosperity, or domestic tranquillity, without security against external 
violence. Every State and nation of the world, outside of this 
Republic, is supposed to maintain armies and navies for this precise 
purpose. It is the only legitimate purpose for which armies and 
navies are maintained in time of peace. They may be kept up for 
ambitious purposes, for the purposes of aggression and foreign war ; 
but the legitimate purpose of a military force in time of peace is to 
insure domestic tranquillity against violence or aggression from with- 
out. The States of this Union would possess that power, were it 
not for the restraints imposed upon them by the federal Constitution. 
When that Constitution was made, the States surrendered to the 
Federal Government the power to raise and support armies, and the 
power to provide and maintain navies, and not only thus surrendered 
the means of protection from invasion, but consented to a prohibition 
upon themselves which declares that no State shall keep troops or 
vessels of war in time of peace. 

The qaestion now recurs, whether the States of this Union are in 
that helpless condition, with their hands tied by the Constitution, 
stripped of all means of repelling assaults and maintaining their 
existence, without a guaranty from the Federal Government, to pro- 
tect them against violence. If the people of this country shall settle 
down into the conviction that there is no power in the Federal Go- 
vernment under the Constitution to protect each and every State 
from violence, from aggression, from invasion, they will demand that 
the cord be severed, and that the weapons be restored to their hands 
with which they may defend themselves. This inquiry involves the 
question of the perpetuity of the Union. The means of defence, the 
means of repelling assaults, the means of providing against invasion, 
must exist as a condition of the safety of the States and the existence 
of the Union. 

Now, sir, I hope to be able to demonstrate that there is no wrong 
in this Union for which the Constitution of the United States has 
not provided a remedy. I believe, and I hope I shall be able to 
maiatain, that a remedy is furnished fo" every wrong wliich caa b» 


perpetrated within the Union, if the Federal Government perforins it« 
whole duty. I think it is clear, on a careful examination of the 
Constitution, that the power is conferred upon Congress, first, to 
I rovide for repelling invasion from foreign countries ; and, secondly, 
to protect each State of this Union against invasion from any other 
State, Territory, or place, within the jurisdiction of the United States 
I wUl first turn your attention, sir, to the power conferred upon 
Congress to protect the United States — including States, Territories, 
and the District of Columbia; including every inch of ground within 
our limits and jurisdiction — against foreign invasion. In the eighth 
section of the first article of the Constitution, you find that Congress 
has power — 

" To raise and support armies ; to provide and maintain a navy; to make 
rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces ; to pro- 
vide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress 
insurrections, and repel invasions." 

These various clauses confer upon Congress power to use the whole 
military fore of the country for the purpose specified in the Consti- 
tution. They shall provide for the execution of the laws of the 
Union; and, secondly, suppress insurrections, Tlie insurrections 
there referred to are insurrections against the authority of tiie United 
States — insurrections against a State authority being provided for in 
a subsequent section, in which the United States cannot interfere, 
except upon the application of the State authorities. The invasion 
which is to be repelled by tijis clause of the Constitution is an inva- 
sion of the United States. The language is, Congress shall have 
power to "• repel invasions." That gives the authority to repel the 
invasion, no matter whether the enemy sliall land within the limits 
of Virginia, within the District of Columbia, witlxin the Territory of 
New Mexico, or anywhere else witliin the jtnMsdiction of the United 
States. Tlie power to protect every portion of the country against 
invasion from t'oi eign nations having thus been specifically conferred, 
the fraraers of the Constitution tlieu proceeded to make guaranties 
for tlie protection of each of the States by federal authority. I will 
read the fourth section of the fourth article of the Constitution : 

" The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican 
form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion ; and, on 
application of the legislature, or of the Executive, (when the legislature can- 
not be convened,) against domestic violence." 

This clause contains three distinct guaranties : first, the United 
States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form 
of government; second, the United States shall protect each of them 
against invasion ; third, the United States sliall, on application of the 
legislature, or of the Executive, when the legislature cannot be con- 
vened, protect them against domestic violence. Now, sir, I submit 
te VGU whether it is not clear, from the very language of the Consti* 


tution, that this clause was inserted for the purpose of making it the 
duty of the Federal Government to protect each of the States against 
invasion from any other State, Territory, or place within the juris- 
diction of tlie United States ? Fur what other purpose was the 
clause inserted ? The power and duty of protection as against foreign 
nations had already been provided for. This clause occurs among 
the guaranties from the United States to each State, for the benetit 
of each State, for the protection of each State, and necessarily from 
other States, inasmuch as the guaranty had been given previously as 
against foreign nations. 

If any further authority is necessary to show that such is the true 
con-tructiou of the Constitution, it way be found in the forty-third 
number of the "Federalist." written by James iladison. Mr. Madi- 
son quotes the clause of the Constitution which I have read, giving 
these three guaranties : and, after discussing the one guaranteeing to 
each State a republican form of government, proceeds io consider 
the second, which makes it the duty of the United States to protect 
each of the States against invasion. Here is what Mr. Madison says 
upon tjjat subject : 

" A protection against invasion is due from every society to the parts compos- 
ing it. The latitude of the expression here used seems to secure each State, 
not only against foreign hostility, but against ambitious or vindictive enter- 
prises of its more powerful neighbors. The history both of ancient and modem 
confederacies proves that the weaker members of the Union ought not to be 
insensible to the policy of this article." 

The cumber of the " Federalist," like all the others of that cele- 
brated work, was written after the C<jnstitntion was made, and before 
it was ratified by the States, and with a view to securing its ratifica- 
tion ; hence the people of the several States, when they ratified this 
instrument, knew that this clause was intended to bear the conatrac- 
tion which I now place upon it. It was intended to make it the 
d^Jty of every society to protect each of its parts; the duty of the 
Federal Government to protect each of the States ; and, he says, th« 
smaller States ought not to be insensible to the policy of this article 
of the Constitution, 

Then, sir, if it be made the imperative duty of the Federal Gxivern- 
raent, by the express provision of the Constitution, to protect each 
of the "States against invasion or violence from the other States, or 
from c<jmbinations of desperadoes within their limits, it necessarily 
follows that it is the duty of Congress to pass all laws necessary and 
proper to render that guaranty effectual, "While Congress, in the 
early history of the government, did provide legislation, which is 
supposed to be ample to protect the United States against invasion 
from foreign countries and the Indian tribes, they have failed, up to 
this time, to make any law for the protection of each of the States 
against invasion from within the limits of the Union. I am unable 
to hccoxmt for this omission ; but I presume the reason is to be foaad 


in the fact that no Congress ever dreamed that sucli legislation Tvoiild 
ever become necessary for the protection of one State of this Union 
against invasion and violence from her sister States. Who, until the 
Harper's Ferry outrage, ever conceived that American citizens could 
be so forgetful of their duties to themselves, to their country, to the 
Constitution, as to plan an invasion of another State, with a view of 
inciting servile insurrection, murder, treason, and every other crime 
that disgraces humanity ? Wliile, therefore, no blame can justly be 
attached to our predecessors in failing to provide the legislation 
necessary to render this guaranty of tlie Constitution effectual ; still, 
since the experience of last year, we cannot stand justified in omit- 
ting longer to perform this imperative duty. 

Tlie question then remaining is, what legislation is necessary and 
proper to render this guaranty of the Constitution effectual? I pre- 
sume there will be very little difference of opinion that it will be 
necessary to place the whole military power of the government at the 
disposal of the President, under proper guards and restrictions against 
abuse, to repel and suppress invasion when the hostile force shall bo 
actually in the field. But, sir, that is not sufficient. Such legislation 
would not be a full compliance with this guaranty of the Constitu- 
tion. The framers of that instrument meant more when they gave 
the guaranty. Mark the difference in language between the provi- 
sion for protecting the United States against invasion and that for 
protecting the States. When it provided for protecting the Unitef" 
States, it said Congress shall have power to " repel invasion." When 
it came to make this guaranty to the States it changed the language 
and said the United States shall '■'■protect " each of the States against 
mvasion. In one instance, the duty of the government is to repel; 
in the other, the guaranty is that they will protect. In other words, 
the United States are not permitted to wait until the enemy shall be 
upon your borders ; until the invading army shall have been organ- 
ized and drilled and placed in march with a view to the invasion ; 
but they must pass all laws necessary and i)roper to insure protection 
and domestic tranquillity to each State and Territory of this Union 
agamst invasion or hostilities from other States and Territories. 

Then, sir, I hold tl:at it is not only necessary to use the military 
power when the actual case of invasion shall occur, but to authorize 
the judicial department of the government to suppress all conspiracies 
and combinations in the several States with the intent to invade a 
State, or molest or disturb its government, its peace, its citizens, its 
property, or its institutions. You must punish the conspiracy, the 
combination with intent to do the act, and then you will suppress it 
in advance. The e is no principle more familiar to the legal profes- 
sion than that wherever it is proper to declare an act to be a crime, it 
is proper to punish a conspiracy or combination with intent to perpe- 
trate the act. Look upon your statute books, and I presume you will 
6nd an enactment to punitih the counterfeiting of the coin of the 
United States ; and then another section to punish a man for having 


wnntefeft coin in his possession with intent to pass it; and another 
aection to pnnish him for having the molds, or dies, or instrument* 
ibr counterfeiting, with intent to use them. This is a familiar princi- 
ple in legislative and judicial proceedings. If the act of invasion is 
criminal, the conspiracy to invade should also be made criminal. If 
it be nulawiul and illegal to invade a State, and run off fugitive 
slaves, why not make it unlawful to form conspiracies and combina- 
tions in the several States with intent to do the act? "We have been 
told that a notorious man who has recently suttered death for liis 
crimes upon the gallows, boasted in Cleaveland, Ohio, in a public 
lecture, a year ago, that he had then a body of men employed in 
running away horses from the slaveholders of Missouri, and pointed 
to a livery ptable in Cleaveland which was full of the stolen horses 
at that time. 

I think it is within our competency, and consequently our duty, 
to pass a law making every conspiracy or combination in any State 
or Territory of this Union to invade another with intent to steal or 
run away property of any kind, whether it be negroes, or horses, or 
property of any other description, into another State, a crime, and 
punish the conspirators by indictment in the United States courts, 
and confinement in the prisons or penitentiaries of the State or Ter* 
ritory where the conspiracy may be formed and quelled. Sir, I 
would carry these provisions of law as far as our constitutional 
power will reach. I would make ' it a crime to form conspiracies 
with a view of invading States or Territories to control elections, 
whether they be under the garb of Emigrant Aid Societies of New 
England, or Blue Lodges of Missouri. (Applause in the galleries.) 
In other words, this provision of the Constitution means more than 
the mere repelling of an invasion when the invading army shall 
reach the border of a State. The language is, it shall protect the 
State against invasion ; the meaning of which is, to use the lan- 
guage of the preamble to the Constitution, to insure to each State 
domestic tranquillity against external violence. There can be no 
peace, there can be no prosperity, there can be no safety in any 
community, unless it is secured against violence from abroad. Why, 
sir, it has been a question seriously mooted in Europe, whether it 
was not the duty of England, a power foreign to France, to pass laws 
to punish conspiracies in England against the lives of the princes of 
France. I shall not argue the question of comity between foreign 
States. I predicate my argument upon the Constitution by which 
we are governed, and which we have sworn to obey, and demand 
that the Constitution be executed in good faith so as to punish and 
suppress every combination, every conspiracy, either to icvade a 
State or to molest its inhabitants, or to disturb its projf'^rty, or to 
subvert its institutions and its government. I believe this can be 
efiectuaUy done by authorizing the United States courts in the 
several States to take jurisdiction of the ofience, and punish the 
TiolatioD of the law with appropriate punishments. 


It cannot be said that the time has not yet arri\ed for such legis- 
lation. It cannot be said with truth that the Harper's Ferry case 
will not be repeated, or is not in danger of repetition. It is only 
necessary to inquire into the causes which produced the Harper's 
Ferry outrage, and ascertain whether those causes are yet in active 
operation, and then you can determine whether there is any ground 
for apprehension that that invasion will be repeated. Sir, what 
were the causes which produced the Harper's Ferry outrage? 
Without stopping to adduce evidence in detail, I have no hesitation 
in expressing my firm and deliberate conviction that the Harper's 
Ferry crime was the natural, logical, inevitable result of the doc- 
trines and teachings of the Republican party, as explained and 
enforced in their platform, their partisan presses, their pamphlets 
and books, and especially in the speeches of their leaders in and out 
of Congress. (Applause in the galleries.) 

I was remarking that I considered this outrage at Harper's Ferry 
as the logical, natural consequence of the teachings and doctrines of 
the Republican party. I am not making this statement for the 
purpose of crimination or partisan efi'ect. I desire to call the atten- 
tion of members of that party to a reconsideration of the doctrines 
that they are in the habit of enforcing, with a view to a fair judg- 
ment whether they do not lead directly to those consequences, on 
the part of those deluded persons Avho think that all they say is 
meant, in real earnest, and ought to be carried out. The great 
principle that underlies the Republican party is violent, irreconcila- 
ble, eter.nal warfare upon the institution of American slavery, with 
the view of its ultimate extinction throughout the land ; sectional 
war is to be waged until the cotton field of the South shall be culti- 
vated by free labor, or the rye fields of New Y ork, and Massachu- 
setts shall be cultivated by slave labor. In furtherance of this 
article of their creed, you find their political organization not only 
sectional in its location, but one whose vitality consists in appeals to 
northern passion, northern prejudice, northern ambition against 
southern States, southern institutions, and southern people. .1 have 
had some experience in fighting this element within the last few 
years, and I find that the source of their power consists in exciting 
the prejudices and the passions of the northern section against those 
of the southern section. They not only attempt to excite the North 
against the Soath, but they invite the South to assail and abuse and 
traduce the North. Southern abuse, by violent men, of northern 
B'ratesmen and northern people, is essential to the triumph of the 
Republican cause. Hence the course of argument which we have to 
meet is not only repelling the appeals to northern passion and preju- 
dice, but we have to encounter their appeals to southern men to 
assail us, in order that they may justify their assaults upon the plea 
of self-defence. 

Sir, when I returned home in 1858, f >r the purpose of canvassing 
Illinois, with a view to reCloction, I had to moet this issue of th« 


" irrepressible conflict." It is true that the senator from Xew York 
had not then made his Rochester speech, and did not for four montlia 
afterward. It is true that he had not given the doctrine that precise 
name an*} form ; but the principle was in existence, and had been 
proclaimed by the ablest and the most clear-headed men of the 
tjarty. I will call your attention, sir, to a single passage from a 
speech, to show the language in which this doctrine was stated in 
Illinois before it received the name of the " irrepressible conflict.'' 
The Republican party assembled in State convention in June, 1858. 
in Illinois, and unanimously adopted Abraham Lincoln as their 
candidate for United States senator. Mr. Lincoln appeared before 
the convention, accepted the nomination, and made a speech — 
which had been previously written and agreed to in caucus by most 
of the leaders of the party. I will read a single extract from that 
speech : 

" In my opinion, it [the slavery agitation] will not cease until a crisis shall 
have been reached and passed. ' A house divided against itself cannot stand.' 
I believe this government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free. 
[ do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided. 
It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery 
will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall 
rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction ; or its advocates 
will push forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States — old as well 
as new, North as well as South." 

Sir, the moment I landed upon the soil of Illinois, at a vast gather- 
ing of many thousands of my constituents to welcome me home, I 
read that passage, and took direct issue with the doctrine contained 
in it as being revolutionary and treasonable, and inconsistent with 
the perpetuity of this Republic. That is not merely the individual 
opinion of Mr. Lincoln; nor is it the individual opinion merely of the 
senator from New York, who four months afterward asserted the 
same doctrine in different language ; but, so far as I know, it is the 
general opinion of the members of the Abolition or Republican party. 
They tell the people of the North that unless they rally as one man, 
under a sectional banner, and make war upon the South with a view 
to the ultimate extinction of slavery, slavery will overrun the whole 
North, and fasten itself upon all the free States. They then tell the 
South, unless you rally as one man, binding tlie whole southern peo- 
ple into a sectional party, and establish slavery all over the frei3 
States, the inevitable consequence will be that we shall abolish it in 
the slaveholding States. The same doctrine is held by the senator 
from New York in his Rochester speech- He tells us that the 
States must all become free, or all become slave; that t^-a Syuth, 
in other words, must conquer and subdue the North, or the North 
must triumph over the South, and drive slavery from within it." 

Mr. President, in order to show that T have not misinterpreted the 
Vosi:ion of the senator from New York, in notifying the South thaK 


if they wish to maintain slavery within their limits, they must also 
fasten it upon the northern States, I will read an extract from hia 
Rochester speech : 

" It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces; and 
it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either 
entirely a slaveholding nation, or entirely a free-labor nation. Either the cot- 
ton and rice fields of South Carolina, and the sugar plantations of Louisiana, 
will ultimately be tilled by free labor, and Charleston and New Orleans become 
marts for legitimate merchandise alone, or else the rye fields and wheat 
flelds of Massachusetts and New York must again be surrendered by theit 
farmers to slave culture and to the production of slaves, and Boston and 
New York become ouce more markets for trade in the bodies and soul« 
of men." 

Thus, sir, you perceive that the theory of the Republican party is, 
that there is a conflict between two different systems of institutions 
in the respective classes of States — not a conflict in tlie same States, 
but an irrepressible conflict between the free States and the slave 
States ; and they argue that these two systems of State cannot per- 
manently exist in the same Union ; that the sectional warfare must 
continue to rage and increase with increasing fury until the free 
States shall surrender, or the slave States shall be subdued. Hence, 
while they appeal to the passions of our own section, their object is 
to alarm the people of tlie other section, and drive them to madness, 
with the hope that they will invade our rights as an excuse for somo 
of our people to carry on aggressions upon their rights. I appeal to 
the candor of senators, whether this is not a fair exposition of the 
tendency of the doctrines proclaimed by the Republican party. 
The creed of that party is founded upon the theory that, because 
slavery is not desinable in our States, it is not desirable anywhere ; 
because free labor is a good thing with us, it must be the best thing 
everywhere. In other words, the creed of their party rests upon the 
theory that there must be 'aniformity in the domestic institutions 
and internal polity of tlie several States of this Union. There, in my 
opinion, is the fundamental error upon which their whole system 
rests. In tlie Illinois canvass, I assei'ted, and now repeat, that uni- 
formity in the domestic institutions of the different States is neithei 
possible nor desirable. That is the very issue upon which I con- 
ducted the canvass at home, and it is the question which I desire 
to present to the Senate. I repeat, that uniformity in domestic 
institutions of the different States, is neither possible nor desirable. 

Was such the doctrine of the framers of the Constitution ? I wist 
the country to bear in mind that when the Constitution was adopted 
the Union consisted of thirteen States, twelve of which were slave- 
holding States, and one a free State. Suppose this doctrine of uni- 
formity on the slavery question ha(i prevailed in the Federal Con- 
vention, do the gentlemen on that side of the House think that free- 
dom would have triumphed over slavery ? Do they imagine that the 
one free State would have outvoted the twelve slaveholding Statue*, 


and thus have abolished slavery throughout the land by a Consti- 
tutional provision ? On the contrary, if the test had then been 
made, if this doctrine of uniformity on the slavery question had then 
been proclaimed and believed in, with the twelve slaveholding States 
against one free State, would it not have resulted in a constitutional 
provision fastening slavery irrevocably upon every inch of American 
soil, North as well as South ? Was it quite fair in those days for the 
friends of free institutions to claim that the Federal Government 
must not touch the question, but must leave the people of each State 
to do as they pleased, until under the operation of that principle they 
secured the majority, and then wield that majority to abolish slavery 
in the other States of the Union ? 

Sir, if uniformity in respect to domestic institutions had been 
deemed desirable when the Constitution was adopted, there was 
another mode by which it could have been obtained. The natural 
mode of obtaining uniformity was to have blotted out the State 
governments, to have abolished the State Legislatures, to have con- 
ferred upon Congress legislative power over the municipal and 
domestic concerns of the people of all the States, as well as upon 
Federal questions affecting the whole Union ; and if this doctrine of 
uniformity had been entertained and favored by the framers of the 
Constitution, such would have been the result. But, sir, the framers 
of that instrum^t knew at that day, as well as we now know, that 
in a country as broad as this, with so great a variety of climate, of 
soil, and of production, there must necessarily be a corresponding 
diversity of institutious and domestic regulations, adapted to the 
wants and necessities of each locality, llae framers of the Constitu- 
tion knew that the laws and institutions which were well adapted to 
the mountains and valleys of New England, were ill-suited to 
the rice plantations and the cotton-fields of the Carolinas. They 
knew that our liberties depended upon reserving the right to the 
people of each State to make their own laws and establish their own 
institutions, and control them at pleasure, without interference from 
the Federal Government, or from any other State or Territory, or 
any foreign country. The Constitution, therefore, was based, and 
the Union was founded, on the principle of dissimilarity in the 
domestic institu .ions and internal polity of the several States. The 
Union was founded on the theory that each State had peculiar 
interests, requiring peculiar legislation, and peculiar institutions, dif- 
ferent and distinct trom every other State. The Union rests on the 
theory that no two States would be precisely alike in their domestio 
policy and institutions. 

Hence, I assert that this doctrine of uniformity in the domestic 
institutions of the different States is repugnant to the Constitution, 
subversive of the principles upon which the Union was based, revo- 
lutionary in its character, and leading directly to despotism if it is 
ever established. Uniformity in local and domestic affair^ in a coun- 
try of great extent is despotism always. Show me centralism pre 


Bcribing uniformity from the capital to all of its provinces in taeir 
local and domestic concerns, and I will show you a despotism as 
odious and as insufferable as that of Austria or of Naples. Dissimi- 
larity is the principle upon which the Union rests. It is founded 
upon the idea that each State must necessarily require different 
regulations ; that no two States have precisely the same interests, 
and hence do not need precisely the same laws ; and you cannot 
account for this confederation of States upon any other principle. 

Then, sir, what becomes of this doctrine that slavery must be es- 
tablished in all the States or prohibited in all the States? If we 
only conform to the principles upon which the Federal TJLion was 
lormed, there can be no conflict. It is only necessary to recognize 
the right of the people of every State to have just such institutions 
as they please, without consulting your wishes, your views, or your 
prejudices, and there can be no conflict. 

And, sir, inasmuch as the Constitution of the United States con- 
fers upon Congress the power coupled with the duty of protecting 
each State against external aggression, and inasmuch as that includes 
the power of suppressing and punishing conspiracies in one State 
against the institutions, property, people, or government of every 
other State, I desire to carry out that power vigorously. Sir, give 
us such a law as the Constitution contemplates and authorizes, and I 
will show the senator from New York that there is a constitutional 
mode of repressing the "irrepressible conflict." I will open the 
prison door to allow conspirators against the peace of the Ee])ublic 
and the domestic tranquility of our States to select their cells wherein 
to drag out a miserable life, as a punishment for their crimes against 
the peace of society. 

Can any man say to us that although this outrage has been perpe- 
trated at Harper's Ferry, there is no danger of its recurrence ? Sir, 
is not the Eepublican party still embodied, organized, confident of 
success, and defiant in its pretensions ? Does it not now hold and 
proclaim the same creed tliat it did before this invasion? It is true 
that most of its representatives here disavow the acts of John Brown 
at Harper's Ferry. I am glad that they do so ; I am rejoiced that 
they have gone thus far ; but I must be permitted to say to them that 
it is not sufficient that they disavow the act, unless they also repudi- 
ate and denounce th